This isn’t how it was supposed to go.
The idea was that Atlético Madrid would beat a struggling Mallorca side on Saturday. Atleti’s players would then spend Sunday recovering and watching Manchester City chase Liverpool players around the Etihad ahead of their game against Cholo Simeone’s side on Wednesday night at the Wanda Metropolitano.
That’s not how it went, as Atlético were stunned 1-0 at Mallorca against a hungrier side chasing safety. Mallorca sat 18th in LaLiga despite Real Betis beating Cádiz in the earlier game on Saturday afternoon.
Atlético started with the majority of the team that played against Man City with just João Félix, Šime Vrsaljko and Renan Lodi dropping to the bench. Atlético did not muster a single shot on or off target last Tuesday night at the Etihad and they didn’t fare much better at Son Moix. Luis Suárez saw a header saved on 55 minutes and that was the rojiblancos’ lot when it came to troubling Sergio Rico in goals for the Islanders.
The controversial yet decisive goal came on 67 minutes, when Vedat Muriqi buried a penalty after Reinildo Mandava clipped Pablo Maffeo just inside the penalty area.
“It’s easy to blame this on lack of concentration, but we couldn’t break down their well-organized defence,” Simeone said after the game. He also commented on the lack of threat his side generated.
“We’ll have to play much better if we are to win on Wednesday,” Jan Oblak said after the game.