Match Thread: Atletico - Villarreal

Starting lineup, courtesy "anonymous": López; Javi Venta, Fuentes, Eguren, Capdevila; Senna; Cazorla, Cani, Pires; Matías Fernández; Rossi.

Game is on GolTV, and you can find streams at www.rojadirecta.com. Endavant!

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90+4' Game over. Ugh. 3-2.

90+3' Ha! Forlan is sent free without anyone but Lopez for 25 yards, and Forlan sends it wide! That miss almost makes this loss bearable. That miss will only resurrect Forlan's memories of similar oh-so-easy misses in his career.

90+2' Senna is fouled just outside the Atletico box to Franco's left. It is easily cleared, and with 20 seconds left, this is over.

90' Yellow card to Nacho Camacho who just came on for Maxi.

89' Another crazy save from Diego Lopez. The match feels completely over, just waiting to see whether we only lose by one or if Atletico will add to it.

87' For those keeping count, Atletico have had 12 corners.

84' Wow, giving up two goals in the last ten minutes - sounds familiar.

83' ANOTHER corner for Atletico, and they score. 3-2. This sucks even more. Misery.

80' Diego Forlan scores, after constant pressure for Atletico. That sucks. 2-2.

79' Diego Lopez deflects a shot wide and then lands on the ensuing corner.

78' Forlan is sent free into the box onsides, but he misses the pass and it rolls to Diego Lopez. On Lopez' kick, of course, Guille Franco gets into a bit of an argument with someone. I figure it is only a couple of minutes before he gets a yellow!

77' Yellow card to Raul Garcia, as Atletico are giving away a number of cheap fouls, allowing Villarreal to melt the clock.

75' Corner to Atletico. We can't clear it, and Atletico maintains possession. Eventually, a foul against Atletico in the box sends Eguren and Senna to the ground.

73' More pressure is coming, as Heitenga is taken out for Sinama-Pongolle

72' Foul in Villarreal's box against Atletico, after an apparent handball that wasn't called against Fuentes. Eguren is holding his right wrist like he may have injured it pretty seriously - I do not remember at the moment which wrist he injured earlier in the year, but that is not good.

70' 20 minutes to hold on as Villarreal absorbs constant pressure from the matressmakers.

67' HUGE save by Lopez off a header following the free kick. We are hanging by a thread, and Atletico gets a corner.

66' Banega comes on for Assuncao (probably wanted to avoid a make up red card), and Rossi is taken off for Mario. Who would have expected that prior to the match?? Mario actually gets time on the pitch.

65' Foul by Javi Venta on the edge of the box, and the referee could have potentially given a penalty, but it is just a free kick. Javi Venta is booked, and thus red carded. OUCH. That move to bring Franco in suddenly hurts us a lot.

64' Pires comes off for Franco. A very interesting move, considering Pires has begun to come to life a bit. Perhaps some size up front could make a difference, though?

63' Diego Lopez picks up a yellow for taking his time waiting to put a goal kick into play. There were two balls on the pitch, though - that one should be able to be overturned assuming we appeal it.

61' Clear offsides against Pires.

60' The resulting free kick is headed over.

59' In a brief moment of American style football, Rossi is tackled (literally) on the sideline. Javi Venta then holds back Simao, and it could have been a red. Instead, it is just a yellow.

57' Nihat and Ibagaza are warming up on the sidelines.

56' Cazorla takes on a defender, and his shot is deflected wide and high for a corner. The corner was wasted horribly.

55' Yellow on Perea as he tries to remove Pires' foot from his body.

54' Villarreal can't let that goal get to them. They need to push back quickly. A shot from Rossi is easily saved by Franco.

53' Immediately, Atletico pull one back. A quick break without much defense, Forlan sends it off the post just outside of Lopez's hands, and Aguero walks it in without anyone in front of him. Atletico 1-2 Villarreal.

52' GOAL CANI! Off an apparently harmless free kick, Villarreal links a couple of passes together from Cazorla to Cani to Rossi and a pass sending Cani through in the box for Cani to put it right by Franco. 0-2!!!

49' Good break from Atletico, but Simao shoots it wide under pressure from Venta.

46' The match begins again. Senna picks up a yellow within 10 seconds for a foot to the head of Assuncao.

2nd: Bruno is in for Mati Fernandez - apparently Pellegrini wanted a more defensive lineup.

HT: Man of the match so far is unquestionably Diego Lopez. Surely he has not had a better half in all his life. And Villarreal heads into halftime with an unwarranted 0-1 advantage, on a great Sunday to secure big points. Sevilla and Malaga drew, as did Valencia, while Deportivo fell to Sporting. Thus, Villarreal could be the only squad between 3rd and 8th to pick up the full three points on the weekend. A win would pull them within three points of Sevilla, and put them five points ahead of Malaga. But, that is not meant to put us ahead of ourselves. There is still an entire half to play, and if things go the way they did the first half, the law of averages says that Atletico scores at least two. I expect that soon after halftime, we might see Pires taken off for Ibagaza, or perhaps Nihat (which would require pulling Mati back into a solid midfield position). We will see.

45' Assuncao picks up a yellow for a foul on Cazorla from behind.

44' Atletico defender Antonio Lopez apparently believes Cazorla is a horse, as he literally tries to ride him.

41' Wow. There might be higher powers at work guarding the goal today. A bad offsides call makes it all a nullity, but somehow his shot bounces harmlessly away off the crossbar (when the angle clearly suggested it would go in!)

39' Capdevila dangerously (but skillfully) heads a scary Atletico cross wide. On the ensuing corner, Senna is sent tumbling, and a free kick goes to Villarreal.

35' Eguren blocks a shot by Forlan from 6 feet out. Good defense, especially because I think Forlan was offsides.

32' The defense seems to have shored up a bit, I think encouraged by a couple of offensive possessions that lasted mroe than 12 seconds.

31' Rossi is called offsides when he receives the ball 15 yards from anybody.

28' Another counterattack by Villarreal is stopped by Atletico. We are definitely playing a different kind of match today, absorbing pressure (although not necessarily intentionally), and then going on counters (which we never do). Lopez is surely the best keeper in Spain.

26' WHOA. Two absolutely impossible saves by Diego Lopez (6 in the match so far!) after sustained possession. This is really terrible defense, but Lopez has multiple angels hanging on his shoulders (and shin guards) today!

24' Forlan is just barely offsides, but his header was stopped by Lopez regardless.

23' All the confidence is back. The midfield has arrived. The first decent possession of the match. ..ugh, it is lost without a chance on goal.

22' Mati again, nearly scores! Beautiful pass from Rossi sets up Fernandez, who is saved by Leo Franco.

21' Dangerous free kick for Atletico on Lopez' right. Wow, rolled off Senna's feet, could have been a back pass from 3 feet away, but no call.

19' GOAL MATI FERNANDEZ!!! Counterattacking football!! WOW! Long kick from Senna to Javi Venta, who centers to Mati next to the penalty spot who drills it into the back of the net! Endavant! 0-1 Villarreal!

18' Lopez is superhuman today! Terrible defending lets Aguero hand the ball to Maxi in the box, and somehow Lopez makes a ridiculous kick save.

17' I think Capdevila has created more so far than any midfielder. Corner to Villarreal. Nothing.

14' Fuentes is shaken up - really not a good sign! Late 14th minute, Lopez comes up with a tremendous save off a Simao shot (somewhat reminiscent of his goal in the first match)

13' Seriously, no one but Senna is doing anything at all out there, and Senna is not doing much. Atletico are enjoying 65 percent or more of the possession.

9' Free kick by Atletico bounces around the box before it is cleared. We really are not having any quality possession. Our midfield - Cani, Cazorla, Senna, Mati, Pires - need to step up in a hurry.

6' Ugly play by VIllarreal's defense, Atletico is popping it around the box, and gets a corner. The corner is headed over by Aguero - I do not know how he gets so high in the air.

5' Messy play in midfield, neither side can maintain possession for more than a couple of passes.

4' Oh what a start! To save a penalty like that is a huge boost to the confidence of the team. Wow, I just scared the heck out of my cat who was sleeping at my feet!

3' Penalty SAVED BY LOPEZ!!! Forlan is stopped! What a save!!!!!!

2' Penalty, called against Eguren for pulling Aguero down in the box. Pretty clear penalty. Not a good start for the back line.

1' The match is on!

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