SPORTING - ATLÉTICO

Atlético Madrid come undone at El Molinón

One day on from being paired against Barcelona in the Champions League draw, Los Rojiblancos squander a 0-1 lead at El Molinón as Sporting mount a heroic comeback.

Atlético Madrid come undone at El Molinón
JAVIER GANDUL DIARIO AS

Barcelona will have watched on with glee today as Sporting Gijón afforded them an even more comfortable lead atop La Liga. Abelardo Fernández's charges harried and hassled Atlético Madrid all afternoon and showed great spirit to claim all three points after going behind to a wonderful Antoine Griezmann free kick.

Here's the action as it happened... starting with the line-ups...

Sporting Gijón: Cuéllar; Lora, Luis, Meré, Isma; Sergio, Mascarell, Cases; Pablo Pérez, Sanabria, Jony.

Atlético Madrid: Oblak; Gámez, Giménez, Lucas, Filipe Luis; Saúl, Kranevitter, Koke, Correa; Griezmann, Vietto.

Atlético snatched a last-minute winner the last time the two sides met, back in November. The Asturians had been beating Los Rojiblancos at their own game up until Antoine Griezmann's late goal, defending like warriors and harrying the opposition like starved blood hounds set loose in a petting zoo.

Minute's silence before proceedings get underway.

1' And we're off...

1' Griezmann with a golden opportunity straight out the gates!! Correa dinks a ball over the top to find the Frenchman unmarked but just as Cuellar's eyes expand to the size of plates the striker slips.

5' Sporting starting to find their legs after that initial scare. Oblak called into action to punch away a dangerous cross.

8' Atleti trying to quell the home side who are insisting on a high tempo game. Last night's bonding sess seems to have galvanised the home team.

11' Jony channels his inner Neymar there, carving a path past Gamez and Correa, but his mazy dribble runs out of space.

15' Atleti make a rare foray forward. Saúl feeds Correa but Meré reads the Argentine's intentions well and gets a foot in to cut out the danger.

18' Sporting frustrating their guests so far. Atleti almost mount a counter attack but Hernandez shrugs Vietto off the ball to the relief of El Molinón.

22' Uff! Abelardo's men are first to everything today. Lopez fires a ball across the face of goal and Kranevitter dabs the sweat off his forehead after nearly diverting the the cross into his own net. Just over the bar.

27' Jesús Gil blows his whistle after Sergio Alvarez's tackles Griezmann. The Sporting players not best pleased with the decision.

28' Goal! Griezmann curls a beauty of a free kick over a four-man wall and into the top corner of Cuellar's goal frame. That's the soon-to-be 25-year-old's 25th goal of the season.

33' Saúl goes down clutching his ankle following a strong challenge from López. The replay looks nasty but the defender had his eyes fixed on the ball.

37' Yellow card for Sanabria for catching Lucas with a carelessly swinging arm. The Frenchman goes down like a bag of bricks but dusts himself off fairly quickly once the card comes out.

40' Quite a few low flying birds circling El Molinón this afternoon. Fingers crossed we don't see any Ashley Young-esque incidents.

44' Nice bit of interplay between Filipe Luis and Vietto. The left back whips a ball into the mixture but the chance is cut out.

45' And that's half time. Sporting 0-1 Atlético Madrid.

The referee brings a very low on excitement first half to an end. Griezmann's free kick was the one fleeting moment of beauty in an otherwise lacklustre first half.  Atleti somewhat disjointed given the number of changes to the starting line-up, while their hosts simply don't possess the quality to really threaten them.

46' Second half underway...

47' The ref waves play on for what looks like a clear push on Vietto near the corner flag, perhaps in an effort to placate the stands.

50' Sporting see a long spell of possession amount to nothing when Sergio Alvarez scuffs a cross from the by-line, sending the ball out of play.

53' Vietto bee lines towards goal, stumbling past a few challenges and managing to stay on his feet but a lack of support allows the Sporting defenders to regroup in time to cut out the danger.

57' Correa makes way for Gabi.

59' Jony has been causing Gamez all kinds of problems today. The 24-year-old sprints past the out-of-practice Atleti right back before sending in an inviting ball towards the front post but Gimenez nips in ahead of Sanabria. 

62' Simeone takes off Griezmann and brings on Fernando Torres.

65' Vietto is sharp to pounce on a misplaced Hernandez pass and then initiate a two-on-two attack with Torres in tow, however, a shocking first touch allows the grateful Sporting defender to recover from his mistake.

66' Pablo Pérez is lucky to only get a booking for a horrendous challenge on Kranevitter. The Argentine, meanwhile, is lucky his standing leg wasn't snapped in half by the feisty midfielder.

68' Abelardo things best to take off his pumped up number 22 and replace him with Carmona.

72' Instant impact from Carmona, whose fresh legs get him past Gamez before squaring a ball across to Sanabria. The Sporting forward drops his shoulder to get his shot away but a sea of bodies blocks its path to goal.

77' Vietto makes way for Juanfran as Atlético sit back and absorb wave after wave of Sporting pressure. The Spanish defender goes in the ref's book straight away for bringing down Jony and then from the resulting free kick Sanabria curls a delicious effort towards the bottom right-hand corner only to see it hit the post.

79' Sporting draw level!! Jony opts to leave the ball for Sanabria and the Paraguayan makes no mistake from close range, thundering a shot into the back of the net.

85' Sporting not happy with their lot continue to put Atlético under the cosh. First Lopez swings a cross into the mixture that finds Castro. The sub pulls the trigger but Gimenez gets in the way and concedes a corner. Minutes later Castro is then guilty of missing a sitter. Sanabria leaves Lucas in his wake and puts the ball on a plate for his team-mate but the Spaniard somehow sends his shot off the crossbar.

89' Goal!!!! El Molinón is sent into raptures! Castro makes amends for his stunning miss by tucking away a carbon copy opportunity. This time it's Jony who provides the pass. What a comeback from Sporting, who have been well on top in the second half.

Three minutes of injury time to go

Full time! Sporting put an end to their eight-game winless run in stunning fashion. Abelardo Fernández's hand nearly falls off with the amount of fist pumping he puts it through on the final whistle.

Not a great couple of days for Los Colchoneros. First they draw Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals and now this. Simeone's experimental line-up didn't go to plan and the backs-to-the-wall approach in the second half allowed their hosts to mount attack after attack without too much fear of reprisals.

Atleti still sit eight points behind Los Culés, as they did before today's encounter, but Luis Enrique's men now have a game in hand.

 

Afternoon and welcome to our live feed of Atlético Madrid's LaLiga matchday 30 trip to face Sporting Gijón at El Molinón - a stadium of which Los Rojiblancos' boss, Diego Simeone, has none too shabby memories as a player.

Consecutive LaLiga wins over Real Sociedad and Valencia in January saw hosts Sporting climb out of the relegation zone, but a run of eight league games without victory - including four defeats in the last four - leaves Abelardo Fernández's men second bottom and firmly in the mire. A reverse today could see them propping up the table for the first time this season.

Second-place Atlético, meanwhile, are not giving up the chase of Barcelona, despite Los Azulgranas' eight-point lead at the top. Atleti are on a streak of four straight LaLiga triumphs, and come into this clash fresh from a midweek penalty shoot-out win over PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League - and, miraculously, with no casualties from their humungous celebration pile-up after Juanfran's decisive spot-kick.

After 120 minutes of European football on Tuesday, Simeone could well look to rotate his line-up. Certain not to be involved for Los Colchoneros is key defender Diego Godín, who limped off with a hamstring injury before his team-mates' joyous victory ruck against PSV, while Yannick Ferreira Carrasco serves a one-match ban after picking up a fifth booking in the win at home to Deportivo La Coruña in week 29. Óliver Torres also misses out.

Fewer changes are expected to the Gijón side that lost to Málaga last time out, with on-loan Barça youngster Alen Halilovic suspended after picking up a fifth booking at La Rosaleda.