Atletico stumble in Champions League race as Aitor Karanka wins first point

Atletico Madrid 0-0 Granada

Diego Simeone’s team are incapable of living in comfort. A comfortable win is a rare commodity at the Wanda Metropolitano and although that does make it an exciting watch at all times, it does cause problems for themselves.

Atletico Madrid had started off this match in the fashion of one of the elite sides in Europe, with most of the attacks coming from the home side and almost all of the danger. Down the left side Yannick Carrasco picked up where he left off against Espanyol as Atleti’s most dangerous player. Yet the cutbacks seemed to find a Granada shirt at every opportunity.

Granada for their part hunkered down in the knowledge that avoiding defeat was reward enough for their considerable efforts. Although they did make Simeone sweat at times on the counter, to their credit Atleti negated their threat relatively well, protecting Jan Oblak.

As the second half went on, Atleti tried to up the pace and more attackers gradually jogged onto the pitch. It was almost accepted that any victory would be marginal and it would come down to the end though. Simeone’s side gave little indication of breaking down Granada organically, relying on moments of brilliance.

It almost happened. Carrasco escaped his marker and chopped the ball back for Matheus Cunha to snap his shot against the post. A late Stefan Savic header also went wide of the mark – celebrated by Luis Maximiano in the Granada goal. By the final whistle, it seemed almost inevitable the match would end level.

Despite throwing on son Giuliano Simeone, Diego will be frustrated with his players. Incapable of changing the course of the match, their point leaves the door open for others to catch up to them in the Champions League race.

Granada had conceded 16 goals in their last 6 matches and this was exactly what Aitor Karanka ordered. A point leaves them in the relegation zone but with plenty to build on.

Tags Atletico Madrid Granada
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