CROTONE 0-ATLÉTICO MADRID 2

Gaitán sizzles and scores on Atlético debut

The Argentine brought something different to the game and to Atlético when he entered the pitch. Diogo Jota doubled the lead in stoppage time.

Gaitán sizzles and scores on Atlético debut
Maurizio Lagana Getty Images

Until Nico Gaitán entered the pitch, it looked like the full match report on Atlético's visit to Crotone would be boiled down to Tiago's excellent display once again. But in this hastily-arranged friendly, to make up for the cancelled one against Galatasaray which should have taken place today, the spotlight feel on debutant Gaitán and the Argentinean didn't let anyone down. The 28-year-old got a lovely touch when he's on the ball and he presses and harries those on the opposing side when he hasn't. But the best thing is that he is utterly convincing - leaving not a shred of doubt, whatever he does - especially when he's clean though on goal. Tonight he took just 14 minutes to open his account, and while the ball was nestling into the back of the Cortone net, Simeone sat chuckling to himself on the bench. He knows - he was right all along.

Up until that moment it was a difficult game for Atleti, only Tiago was able to conjure something up for the visitors; but once the ball had left his feet, it was straight back to the druggery which was only lifted momentarily when Crotone's defence comically almost turned the ball into their own net.

Matters improved after the break when El Cholo made six changes. All of a sudden Atleti had a new spring in their step - more direct, more eager and with greater penetration than in the opening half. The opener was the work of two players who in theory will be fighting for the same position in the XI - Carrasco and Gaitán. The Belgian won back possession, darted straight for the byline before laying up Gaitán to beat  Cordaz with a low, rasping strike.

With seconds left of the three minutes' stoppage time remaining, Diogo Jota tucked in to make it 2-0 on the night and bring up the team's third win of the summer.

  • Midfielder
  • Argentina