Atletico Madrid (Simao 83′) 1-1 Liverpool (Keane 14′)
Stadium: Vicente Calderon Stadium, Madrid, Spain
Competition: UEFA Champions League, Group D
Date: 22 October 2008
Kickoff: 19:45 BST, 14:45 ET
Atletico Madrid pulled out a late goal to earn a well-deserved 1-1 draw against Liverpool in their Champions League clash! Soccerlens brought you the action live! Click below for the live blog and feel free to leave your comments below!
In the end, it was much ado about nothing. Fernando Torres’ return to the Vicente Calderon to take on his former team won’t happen anytime soon after Torres picked up an injury while playing for Spain. Additionally, UEFA’s stadium ban against Atletico Madrid as punishment for racist fan conduct will be delayed until after this match. As such, Atletico Madrid will be determined to win this match, which could be the last Champions League they’ll host at the Vicente Calderon for a little while.
Both teams have taken maximum points after the first two weeks of group play. Atletico Madrid are coming off two big losses in La Liga, a 6-1 shellacking at the hands of Barcelona, and a last-gasp 2-1 loss against crosstown rivals Real Madrid. The Indios recently got back striker Diego Forlan, who had been out for more than a month, and creative midfielder Maniche, who had missed Portugal’s recent spate of World Cup qualifiers. They’ll need them both to step up if they want to defeat a Liverpool team that has always played well in Europe.
Speaking of Liverpool, their domestic form has been pretty good, too. They continue to pull out last-minute victories in the Premiership, coming back against both Manchester City and Wigan. They’ll be without Torres, however Dirk Kuyt has been a goal-machine as of late, and has always stepped up in Champions League play. Robbie Keane still has yet to score in the Premiership, but he did get off the schnide during their last European match against PSV Eindhoven.
Despite Torres’ absence, there are still plenty of subplots that should make this match interesting. Who will prevail in this top-of-the-group clash?
Atletico Madrid: Leo Franco, Seitardaris, Perea, Dominguez, Lopez (c), L. Garcia, Maniche, Camacho, Simao, Forlan, Pongolle.
Subs: R. Garcia, Bernabe, Heitinga, de las Cuevas, Pernia, Assuncao, Aguero.
Looks like Atletico Madrid will start out in a 4-4-2 with Nacho Camacho (my favorite name ever!) and Maniche playing deeper than Garcia and Simao. As expected, Aguero will start out on the bench, but could be a factor later on. Atletico will go with a completely new backline as compared to the one that started against Real Madrid, as Heitinga, Ujfalusi, Assuncao, and Pernia will be replaced by Seitardaris, Perea, Dominguez, and Lopez.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Dossena, Mascherano, Alonso, Benayoun, Gerrard (c), Riera, Keane.
Subs: Diego, Pennant, Darby, Aurelio, Lucas, Babel, Kuyt.
Liverpool will start with 5 in midfield with Mascherano and Alonso sitting in front of the defense. Keane will be the lone man up front, which seems to be his preferred position (or playing up front with another striker), instead of playing on the wing, which is where Benitez had been playing him. A little surprising that Kuyt, who always seems to come up big in European matches, has been left on the bench. He’ll be an intriguing late-match possibility, especially if they fall behind.
Thanks to everyone who followed along. I’ll be back on Saturday when Manchester United visit Everton. So long!
90′ + 3 R. Garcia takes Kuyt down and Liverpool will have a free kick from about 40 yards out. Free kick is poor, but Liverpool get it back. Riera tries to make a move in the box, but he’s called for a foul. Franco takes his time sending this one back into play and he wastes enough time as there’s the whistle!
90′ + 2 Kuyt tries one from long range, but Franco takes it.
90′ + 1 Not a good corner as it fails to go past the first defender. Simao gets it back and sends it towards the far post, but Reina takes it.
90′ Aguero gets in behind the defense and his cross is knocked away by Mascherano. Three minutes will be added on.
88′ Great chance for Liverpool as Kuyt makes a great run down the right and sends it to Babel, who is in front of goal. He heads it just wide of the near post, and Atletico fans can breathe easily.
87′ Can Atletico pull out this unlikely win? Not here, as Reina takes the corner (after bobbling it a little).
86′ Maniche tries to flick it to Aguero, but it’s too long and Reina takes it. Forlan gets it on the left flank and crosses it to Miguel, who is well to the right of the far post. He shoots on target and forces a great save from Reina.
83′ GOAL! Liverpool’s defense gets exposed as Carragher makes a mess of the long-pass to Forlan. Forlan lays it off to Simao, who makes the run into the box from the left. Simao then easily beats Reina to notch the hard-earned equalizer.
82′ Maniche is offsides and this one is, actually, the right call. Meanwhile, John Terry has scored for Chelsea.
80′ Forlan is tackled on the edge of the box by Lucas. He wants a free kick, but the refs give him no love. Maniche tries to tee one up from long-range and Reina easily takes it.
78′ Kuyt is almost through, but he’s flagged offsides and he slipped to boot. Needless to say, he wasn’t scoring there.
77′ Kuyt works hard and he’s fouled on the edge of the box. Lucas takes the free kick, and his effort eludes his teammates and is knocked away by Atletico.
75′ Lucas will come on for Alonso while Miguel will come on for Pongolle.
74′ Forlan gets it in the box, but he tries to get it back to Lopez and loses it.
73′ Babel tries to cross it deep down the right, but Franco intercepts it.
72′ R. Garcia is on for Nacho Camacho. Still my favorite name, even though he didn’t do much today.
71′ Simao is fouled by Arbeloa in the attacking half for Atletico. Should be a good chance for Simao here. Great chance indeed as Simao sends it towards the far post and Seitardaris is unmarked. The ball is just behind him, though, and he can’t get the shot off.
69′ Alonso takes the shot from the edge of the box and he misses the near post by a couple of inches. It’s out for for corner. On the ensuing corner, Alonso’s effort is punched away by Franco.
68′ Kuyt makes a run towards the goal. He lays it off for Benayoun, who sends it to Riera. Riera makes the move, but loses it to Seitardaris. The Greek international muffs his touch, though, and it trickles dangerously in the box before Franco falls on it.
66′ Simao picks Mascherano’s pocket and Mascherano retaliates by throwing Simao to the ground. For some reason, we see highlights of Berbatov’s two goals from yesterday. Clearly, the UEFA refs need to re-learn the offside rule.
65′ Pongolle fouls Alonso in the Atletico half of the field. Alonso tries to poke a through-ball to Benayoun, but it’s too long and Franco takes it.
64′ Maniche with a hard foul on Mascherano. Better be careful, Maniche. You’re on a card, after all.
63′ Babel gets it and makes the run towards goal. He lays it off for Kuyt, but it’s slightly behind him and Kuyt can’t get the shot off. Liverpool have to reset their offense after Atletico get back to defend. Babel is then called for a foul.
61′ Gerrard is coming off for Ryan Babel. Behave, Atletico fans!
60′ Aguero with a long cross from the left flank to the far post to Pongolle. He tries to pass it to Forlan, but Liverpool pounce on it and clear it away from danger.
59′ Dangerous cross from the right flank towards Aguero, who is completely unmarked at the far post. Luckily for Liverpool, the cross eludes him, otherwise there would have been no doubt about that one.
57′ Maniche sends it to Simao on the left edge of the box and his shot beats Reina, but hits the far post. Atletico can’t control the rebound and Reina falls on it.
56′ Nothing doing on the corner as Riera headed it away. Down the other way as Benayoun gets loose in the Atletico box, but he can’t keep his footing and the chance is wasted. Aguero flicks a nice pass to Maniche and Maniche puts it in the back of the net. However the flag is up again and once again it looks like a bad call. This is getting ridiculous.
55′ Long cross from the left flank to the far post where Pongolle is unmarked. He tries to cross it back to Forlan rather than take the shot. Eventually, it goes out for an Atletico corner.
54′ Aguero is fouled by Mascherano. It’s Argentine on Argentine violence!
53′ Keane is off and Kuyt is on.
52′ Dirk Kuyt is warming up for Liverpool. Nice one-two by Forlan and Pongolle. Forlan gets played through on the over-the-top chip from Pongolle and he brings Reina off his line. The flag is up and he’s offsides. But wait! Replay shows Forlan wasn’t even close to being offsides. In fact, there were two Liverpool defenders in front of him. These refs really need to take a refresher course on the offsides rule.
49′ Another poor back-pass from Atletico Madrid puts Franco in danger. This time, it’s Keane that provides the pressure. Franco is able to get it away, though. Benayoun finds the back of the net after Keane threads a neat back-heel through. He’s flagged offsides, but it looks like he was on-sides. Oh well. The debate rages on…
48′ Gerrard makes a good move into the box and stays on-sides. He tries to send a cross towards Keane down the left, but Franco cuts it out.
46′ Liverpool kick off and the second half is underway! Aguero is on for Atletico Madrid. Luis Garcia is off. Let’s see what the next-next-Maradona can do here.
46′ Chelsea and Roma are scoreless at half, which is kind of surprising, given the form that Chelsea have been in. Barcelona are all over Basel, 3-0. Otherwise, all of our matches are either 1-0 or scoreless. Looks like we won’t have an offensive onslaught like we did yesterday.
Very sloppy game thus far as the rain and wind seem to be wrecking havoc on both squads. Liverpool had one moment of brilliance, though, which resulted in Keane’s second Liverpool goal. Atletico seemed to wake up towards the end of the half and started to put some pressure on Liverpool’s defense. They’ll need to do more of that if they want to get back in this game.
45′ + 1 Gerrard tees up a shot from long range, but a nice block from an Atletico defender (didn’t catch who it was) to deny the Liverpool skipper. There’s the whistle and we’re at halftime.
45′ Maniche goes down in the box after Benayoun kicks him in the leg. Ref blows the whistle and is this a penalty? No! Maniche gets booked for diving. He looks like he was fouled, but Maniche was a little theatrical, so I’m sure that didn’t help.
44′ Arbeloa gets booked for a nasty foul Pongolle on the edge of the box. Good chance for Simao here. Nevermind. Not sure what he was trying to do. Shoot it or cross it. Either way, Reina easily handles the tame effort.
43′ Corner goes out to Dominguez, who tries the bicycle kick. It’s on target, but right into Reina’s hands.
42′ Forlan gets it in the box and he loses his footing. He manages to lay it off to Pongolle, who’s make the run down the left. It’s knocked out by Liverpool for a corner.
41′ Forlan gets it on the edge of the box and he makes a move to create some space. He manages to get the shot off and it’s just wide of the post. Good effort from Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s former striker partner.
38′ Good buildup by Liverpool as they pass it around on the edge of the box and Keane gets a shot opportunity in the box. He loses his footing and the ball goes to Riera. Riera then makes a move in the box and goes down. Ref blows the whistle. Is a penalty? No! Riera gets booked for diving in the box. On the replay, it looks like he tripped over his defender’s foot.
36′ Atletico have been very sloppy with the ball, turning it over left and right. The conditions aren’t helping, but they need to play better if they want to get back into this match.
35′ Garcia gets taken down again, this time by Mascherano. Free kick by Simao gets cleared by Liverpool and they’re off to the races. Long pass to Keane, but he’s well marked and Liverpool have to reset their offense.
34′ Garcia goes down after the challenge from Alonso, and he’s clutching his knee. He’s up and should be fine after he walks it off.
33′ Promising attack from Atletico short-circuits after Lopez is called offsides. On the replay, they had two other attackers who were in offside positions. Well, that’s a novel strategy.
32′ Lopez concedes the corner on Dossena’s cross. Corner eludes everyone as the wind is really strong now.
31′ Through-ball into the box from Keane for Benayoun gets cut out nicely by Lopez. Otherwise, he would have been through.
30′ Risky header from Arbeloa back to his keeper nearly gets picked off by Forlan. Reina is able to reel it in, otherwise that would have been a howler for Liverpool.
28′ Riera makes a move deep down the left and his cross attempt goes out for a corner. Gerrard swings it in and Franco bobbles it but manages to get both hands on it. With the wind, that might be something either club might want to try on their next corner attempt.
26′ Simao tries to penetrate the Liverpool goal, but Mascherano is there once again to make the excellent defensive play. Simao comes back and tries a long cross towards Pongolle on the far post. It’s too close to Reina, though, and Pepe easily takes it.
25′ Mascherano does good work to take it away from Garcia on the edge of the Liverpool box. Garcia then retaliates with a cheap tackle from behind. I’m surprised he didn’t get booked.
23′ Thank you to Tommy Smyth for bringing up the fact that Gerrard nearly left Liverpool on a couple of occasions. Speaking of Gerrard. He threads a great cross into the box from the right wing that Keane just whiffs on. Keane should have had his brace right there.
22′ Simao with a nice through-ball to Pongolle, who overruns it and blows the golden opportunity. Oh wait! Nevermind, he would have been offsides anyway. Still, you never know. They might have allowed it.
21′ Alonso takes the shot from long range and it’s just over the cross-bar.
20′ Supposedly, Atletico Madrid offered to put Torres up in a VIP box as a guest of honor. Wow! That’s pretty classy. You have to give them credit for that. A lot of teams would have made him pay of his own seat, and then put him in the nosebleed section. Riera takes the long-range shot and Franco makes the save.
18′ Lopez sends a cross on the edge of the box, and Mascherano looks like he handles the ball. No call, though, and Atletico Madrid lose out on a good free-kick opportunity.
17′ Alonso tries to catch Franco napping with a long-range shot. Needless to say, Franco was not napping.
15′ Seitardaris takes the long-range shot and it’s not even close to bothering Reina.
14′ GOAL! Gerrard threads a nice through-ball to Keane, who splits the defense and he easily beats Leo Franco. On the replay, it looks like he’s offsides. Just like Berbatov yesterday. What’s with those Spurs strikers?
13′ Simao sends it towards the goal, and Camacho heads it over the bar. He was well-marked there and wasn’t going to get anything.
12′ Benayoun gives it away and Atletico try to set up their offense. Dossena commits the foul on Garcia and Atletico will have a free kick in Liverpool territory. Garcia is holding his face as if he requires reconstructive surgery. Replay shows that Dossena’s elbow barely glazed Garcia’s face.
11′ Keane swings a cross into the box for Benayoun. He tries to get his head on it, but he doesn’t get enough on it and it’s easily cleared away.
10′ Forlan tries a one-two with Pongolle, but the return pass is cut out by Liverpool and knocked away. Pongolle then gets tied up with Dossena, and the call goes against the former Liverpool man.
9′ Perea with a hard tackle on Keane. No whistle, though, as it looks like the refs are going to let them play.
6′ Nice move from Dossena down the left. He crosses into the box and there’s some confusion in Atletico’s backline. It looks like it strikes Dominguez’s hand, but no call. Eventually, Dominguez clears it away. On the replay, it looks like it hit Perea’s face and not his hand. Good no-call by the refs.
5′ Gerrard tries to spring down the left flank with an over-the-top lob, but it’s long and it goes out for a Atletico throw-in. Benayoun gets called for another foul, this time on Nacho Camacho. Did I mention that I love that name?
3′ Some confusion for Atletico as Gerrard takes a shot and it takes a wicked deflection of an Atletico defender. Franco moves to kick it away, but Dominguez steps in front of Franco and does it instead.
2′ Long pass to Benayoun and he works against Lopez and Dominguez in the box. Benayoun gets called for a foul.
1′ Atletico kick off and we’re underway!
0′ The captains are exchanging the banners now. I wonder what they do with them afterwards. Do they keep them in a cupboard? Do they throw them in the trash? Do they put them on a giant dartboard and start firing away? Seriously, I want to know.
0′ Liverpool are wearing their blue kits tonight. Anything’s better than those grey kits they wore a few weeks ago. Two former Liverpool players, Garcia and Pongolle, will start for Atletico Madrid. Sound problems in the stadium, so we can’t hear the UEFA anthem. What a shame!
0′ Diego Forlan seems like he wishes he were still a Red. He badly wants to score against Liverpool (like he did with that brace a few years ago – good times) and has openly stated that he’s pulling for his old squad. Well, he’d do a lot to repair his reputation with United fans by scoring against Liverpool. He’d be in good company as it’s been a good week for United alums so far. Rossi scored for Villarreal yesterday, as did Van Nistelrooy for Real. Silvestre even put one in the back of the net. Sure it was against his own team, but it’s still a goal, right?
0′ These are the Chammmmpions! So many Chammmmpions! Too many Chammmmmpions! Neither of these sides were chammmmpions!
0′ Welcome to Soccerlens’ coverage of the Champions League clash between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid. We should be in for a great match! I’m Victor and I’ll be your live-blogger.
A boring and sloppy match really picked up towards the end. A draw is probably the just result, but Atletico were robbed on no less than two bogus offside calls that cost them goals. Javier Aguirre’s job was on the line today, and his team played hard for him, despite looking less than sharp early on. We’ll see if this result is enough to get him some breathing room.
As for Liverpool, this isn’t the worst result in the world. Rafa Benitez would have been happy with a draw coming into this match, so I’m sure he won’t be shedding any tears over this. Plus, it’s obvious that, by pulling Gerrard and Keane and bringing Kuyt off the bench, Benitez is looking forward to this weekend’s titanic clash with Chelsea. In the end, he’s probably satisfied with the point, even though it could have been three.
Man of the Match:
Not much to choose from here. Keane and Gerrard played well but left early. Forlan had moments of brilliance but had many more moments of invisibility. Both defenses were shaky and should have conceded more than one goal each. Mascherano and Alonso were solid for Liverpool, as was Maniche for Atletico. Simao gets the nod because of his goal, his near miss that hit the post, and his numerous chances that he created for his teammates. Simao recently missed some time because of an injury, so it’s good to see him healthy. They’ll need him if they want to turn their season around.