Match Report: Joranda 2
Sevilla 0 Atletico Madrid 3
Well, that was a disappointing start to the new era at the Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan, and the 15/16 Liga campaign in general. So much was expected before the game, yet so little delivered. The shiny new (painted) seats and the upgraded PA system could do little to gloss over a disappointing night for all associated with Sevilla Futbol Club. As it is, we now go into the international break (or ‘inter-lull’ as I like to call it) licking our wounds, and wondering after so much promise what went wrong.
To be fair, the result was not a true reflection of the game, and perhaps an opponent of this magnitude came just a little bit too early in the season for this developing team. It is clear we need time to gel in a competitive environment, and far too often players were not on the same wavelength tonight. Atletico, on the other hand, played like it was already round 33 and showed the kind of composure and organisation of experienced title winners. As much as they are frustrating to watch, they did a job on us tonight.
Yet, we could have taken so much more from the game had chances been converted, and for me the game changer was when Carrico was forced off injured. Not only was he missed with his forward runs from deep, but we were forced into an unfamiliar 4-4-2 system that we quite clearly didn’t have enough time to adapt to.
The first goal was comical, and could easily have been avoided. Will need to see the replay but from my seat it seemed that we didn’t play to the whistle and assumed the ref was going to blow for a free kick for us. They took advantage; Beto was badly positioned (more about him later), and an easy, stupid goal to give away.
The second half started much brighter, and we found a second wind and totally battered them for a good 15-20 minute spell. We played a very high-risk game and they had a couple of decent counter attacks. The most memorable was Carrico’s double challenge when their striker (think was Griezman) was clean through.
We knocked and knocked at their defense, but with a mixture of luck and bravery they kept us out. Llorente with what seemed like the easiest of tap-ins drilled it wide from 8 yards! It began to feel like one of those nights, then it became one… seconds after we made two big substitutions (Kono and MKD) the killer blow and turning point of the entire contest arrived…
Carrico hit a wayward shot from distance, which was clearly struck awkwardly, and he fell to the ground holding what looked like his knee. He knew straight away it was bad… even the Atletico player nearby called to the bench… and so it was he couldn’t even leave the field without the aid of a stretcher. If it is as bad as it looked I am very concerned he will be out for months with ligament damage, which will be a massive blow to our chances this season.
The rest of the game after that became a training exercise for Atletico, and once they scored the 2nd from a free kick the game was essentially over. The Sevilla heads dropped, on and off the field and the 3rd was just more insult to injury. Beto appeared to be off his line (Sergio Rico has to start the next game), but Jackson finished well (from my seat it was a Golazo). At this point the stadium began to empty in earnest, and if Griezman’s injury time effort went in and not off the post I may have just laughed out loud at the whole absurdity of the situation.
Like I said, the damage was done before all of that though, as tactically and mentally, once Carrico was taken off injured we looked lost. The hastily arranged 4-4-2 was not working and we gave the ball away far too cheaply. Atletico began to gleefully mop up every loose pass and ran down the clock with possession football.
Over the next few weeks we have a lot to work on (obviously) and we need to find a new formula with having a bigger man up front than Bacca (Rami’s long diagonal balls up to Llorente didn’t work at all). Also Coke is no Vidal down the right, so that is something else we need to work on. Kono will probably start more games and rotate with Reyes, and Mariano will hopefully give us what we missed from Vidal. I wonder if we will make enquires for Isla again before the window shuts tomorrow night?
Pass marks for Carrico, Rami, Coke, Vitolo, and Gamiero when he came on. Kono looks dangerous also but needs to show more, hopefully he has an opportunity soon.
Regardless of the score, I genuinely believe top 4 is still our priority and should still be achievable. We played the 3rd best team in La Liga and one of the best in Europe tonight, and we appeared woefully, if not unsurprisingly, unprepared. It could have been so different had chances been taken, but I am not surprised at all with the defeat. The league is marathon, not a sprint. We have just started badly but we definitely have it in our locker to catch up when we need to.
Anyway amigos, buenas noches desde Sevilla