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4 talking points from Atlético Madrid 3-3 Getafe

A devastating ending leaves the home team with only a point.

Atletico Madrid v Getafe - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by David S.Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Atlético Madrid’s 20-game home winning run came to an end in gutting fashion, as Getafe equalised with an injury-time penalty to take a point from a 3-3 draw at the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano on Tuesday night.

Stefan Savić’s red card made it a difficult task for the home side, but they took the lead through Antoine Griezmann before the break regardless. Borja Mayoral levelled the score in the second period, but an Álvaro Morata header and then a historic Griezmann penalty gave Atleti a comfortable lead. That was until Óscar then saw a shot deflected past Jan Oblak, and Mayoral then made it 3-3 from the spot in injury time.

Here are four of the talking points from the game.

1. Antoine Griezmann made history

As Griezmann powered his penalty into David Soria’s palm and smashed it through to the top corner, he made club history as one of two men to score 173 goals for Atlético de Madrid. He joined Luis Aragonés as Atlético’s all-time top goalscorer, the silver lining on what was a tough night otherwise for Los Rojiblancos.

(It says it all that at the time of taking the spot-kick, won by Mario Hermoso, Griezmann was playing in midfield as Diego Simeone dropped him back, preferring his defensive work rate to that of Rodrigo de Paul, whose lax attitude had already cost Atlético with Getafe’s first goal.)

The difference between the two is minimal, with the Frenchman taking 364 appearances to reach the goal tally that Aragonés made it to after 368 games. The legend made that many appearances over a 10-year period, while the current star is now in a three-year stint following five years with Atleti, interspersed by that terrible move to FC Barcelona. Griezmann will certainly move ahead of Aragonés imminently, and the game against Sevilla this weekend may be the time when it comes.

A word also, without the intention of blemishing Griezmann’s tribute, to the fact that he played much of the first half alongside what looked to be a competition winner. It was only upon closer inspection that you could see that the slow and clumsy overweight lump in the Atleti attack was actually Memphis Depay. A target man he is not, and Morata’s introduction in the second half made that contrast even clearer.

2. Riquelme and Lino can play together

For the first time, we saw Rodrigo Riquelme and Samuel Lino play on the same flank for a more extended period. Savić’s dismissal saw an end brought to the experiment on 40 minutes, with Riquelme switching to the right and Marcos Llorente moving inside, but it gave us our longest sample size yet seeing two of the team’s brightest young talents playing together.

What was perhaps most surprising about this was the fact that Simeone opted for Riquelme as the wing-back, with Lino playing in the interior midfield role. That was despite Riquelme’s previous experience as a midfielder, and Lino’s having mostly come as a winger. The two linked up well, but did find themselves on each other’s toes, with Lino unable to open up and burst down the wing with as much space given Riquelme’s presence.

Atletico De Madrid V Getafe Cf - Laliga Ea Sports Photo By Oscar J. Barroso/Europa Press via Getty Images

There is an argument that they are best on the field together, but on opposite flanks. It was that change, stretching the Getafe defence, which brought about Griezmann’s first goal just before half-time, which ultimately had a major influence on how the game evolved. That came from that very fruitful connection between the two of Riquelme and Griezmann, with the Spaniard proving once again that he is the best crosser in the Colchonero ranks.

Nahuel Molina’s form continues to be a concern and Marcos Llorente excelled in midfield, deservedly earning a hug from Simeone in the celebration of Morata’s goal for some impressive work out wide. That could be a good reason to expect to see more from this duo on opposite flanks.

3. Stefan Savić should never play for Atlético again

In the build-up to this game, there was a lot of speculation surrounding the future of Stefan Savić. The Montenegrin defender was linked with Fenerbahçe, who reportedly have him top of their target list to bulk a faltering defence, and he is believed to have an offer from Saudi Arabia on the table. There can be no more fitting an end to his Atlético career than a stupid second yellow card at home to Getafe inside 40 minutes.

Savić’s ninth red card for Atlético de Madrid was the first shown for two yellow cards in the first 40 minutes in a home league game since 1998 — the kind of record he would be proud of. The first yellow card was one that Atlético fans were rightly frustrated by, excessive from referee José Luis Munuera Montero, but needless from Savić. The second saw him throw out a flailing arm at Jaime Mata minutes after he stamped on de Paul. There would only ever be one outcome.

Savić is supposed to be one of this team’s leaders, but once again reflected that he is anything but. While this team continues to cry out for more vocal leadership on the field (with it being one of Koke’s few weaknesses), Savić’s flagrant aggression and reckless attitude are the complete opposite of what the team needs from its more experienced players.

This perhaps harsh claim, that he should not play for the club again, is not based upon his dismissal alone. His performances against Almería and Lazio in recent weeks were concerning, and he is nowhere near the first choice line-up. César Azpilicueta has already surpassed him — and at 32 years old, Savić unlikely to improve. Add in Simeone’s desire to give Caglar Söyüncü more minutes, and his future looks bleak, whether he stays or not.

4. Exhaustion prevented a club record

Atlético were seemingly only minutes away from a club record 21 consecutive home wins at the Metropolitano when the ball struck Riquelme’s arm to gift Getafe one of those penalties that nobody ever thinks should be a penalty.

Even so, a point keeps Atleti top of the home league table, with a strong 25 points from a possible 27. No other team in LALIGA can match that or even come close with Real Madrid and Girona three points behind, Madrid having played one game fewer. On the other hand, only three away wins is the same number as Las Palmas (who are 9th), Rayo Vallecano (11th) and Osasuna (12th). Four away defeats is as many as Sevilla (who are 17th) and Celta Vigo (18th).

Atletico Madrid v Getafe - La Liga Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu via Getty Images

In the end, exhaustion proved too much for Atlético. This was a strong display against the odds and one where dropping points looked likely for much of the game. Playing with 10 men for over an hour is always likely to end with one outcome, no matter how hard Atleti’s players worked. That was what ultimately made the difference in the closing stages as a wicked deflection sent Óscar’s effort in, with slack reactions and exhaustion costing the Colchoneros two valuable points.

This team’s spirit is impressive, but these players are only human. Playing such a long period with one man down, and following the away defeat to Athletic Club on Saturday, is a real test. Getafe are not an easy team to play against, and their high press was exhausting to the hosts even before they were playing with one man less.