Celta Vigo had more shots, shots on target, and expected goals than Atlético Madrid on Sunday — and they hit the woodwork, too.
But Diego Simeone’s side got the all-important goal on Sunday afternoon at Balaídos, an 89th-minute strike from new signing Memphis Depay to seal a 1-0 victory in Vigo. The three points pushed Atlético four points clear of Real Betis in fifth place in LaLiga.
Celta de Vigo have now failed to win any of their last nine games against Atlético de Madrid in the league, losing six and drawing three. They had only gone nine or more without a win against them in the competition once before, back in 1945.
This was the first time Celta boss Carlos Carvalhal has faced Atlético, and the 100th manager Simeone’s Atlético have scored against in LaLiga. His teams have now scored against 100 of the 107 managers they have faced in the competition.
Memphis has played in three league games so far (49 minutes total) for Atlético since signing from FC Barcelona in the middle of last month. He has registered two shots so far, his second being a goal and the game-winner on Sunday.
“I came to this marvellous club to score goals,” he said. “I hope I have more opportunities now to score more and be even more important for my teammates.”
However, Jan Oblak really saved the day for Atlético, with Simeone saying: “Oblak has given us a very important hand.” His Celta counterpart agreed.
“I think Oblak was the man of the match,” Carvalhal said. “Obviously. This shows what my team have done. I am very proud of them, I’m sad about the result but know that we are on the right path. We are improving game by game.”
Another positive for Atlético is that Argentinian World Cup winners Nahuel Molina and Rodrigo de Paul continue to grow in their roles within the team. They had the first- and second-most touches on the team on Sunday.
De Paul had 31 passes in the final third, the most on the team, and 10 more than Antoine Griezmann’s 21. He also created two chances, tied for highest on the team with Griezmann. De Paul also had 15 duels, more than any other player, while Molina was second with 13. De Paul won possession (10) more times than any Atlético player too, and finally, he won more tackles than any Atlético player. This is the Rodrigo de Paul Atlético thought they signed, and the player they need in midfield.