Atlético Madrid 2-0 Athletic Bilbao: Diego Costa-David Villa Atleti’s Duo Dinámico
David Villa and Diego Costa lead the way in Vicente Calderón with a goal a piece, without Arda Turan, the Atleti party must go on.
The news was official this week: Diego Costa will play for La Roja. It was a loud secret that was as vibrant as the colchonero crowd in El Día de las Peñas. The enthusiasm ahead of the clash was adorned with a mosaic with three letters appearing in the middle of the panorama – ATM.
Athletic Bilbao’s last win in Vicente Calderón occurred in the 2010-11 season and the referee was the same as Sunday evening’s, Teixeira Vitienes. In that game Toquero scored his only double in First Division. For the 12th La Liga match, Ernesto Valverde surprised with Beñat starting instead of Susaeta; the former betico had started on the bench the past three fixtures.
Atleti did not have Arda Turan on the starting eleven, nor on the bench, and its effects were preponderant early on during the match, the game lacked magic, it was all tackles and strategy from both sides, but more nerve-wrecking from the Bilbao side. It was a Laporte and Iraizoz miscommunication that created the first scare and invited the colchonero takeover.
Koke’s role multiplies times a hundred when Arda is not on the pitch, and he genuinely takes the lead as the director in the midfield. He likes it. His hand motions of waking up his teammates and the crowd happened in the 18th minute after a Diego Costa miss chance, and one of his through passes. Costa slapped the floor with his gloved hand.
Ever since the Diego Costa to La Roja news became more real, the David Villa reconciliation with the goal occurred. The amount of support and trust from his new home has propelled him to the form that has enamored the Spanish football spectator. His approximations to opponent territory are carried with a fiery attitude of “I want to score because I want to score” that elevates the rojiblanco offence.
It is untreatable, and the team is loving every second of it. Before the first goal, Villa had two close approximations to score, but in the 32nd minute, he received a pass inside the box from Juanfran, voracious in the right-back position, and Villa finished the goal with a diving, looking kick, in which he added all of his weight to his right foot, an unstoppable shot for Iraizoz. 1-0, and Villa ran to the crowd and slid on the field with evident passion.
Athletic had to substitute Erik Morán for an injured Balenziaga, and the little organization showcased in the first 15 minutes of the match was lost, Beñat was unable to connect passes with Iker Muniain and De Marcos, who was playing more close to Aduriz than usual.
Diego Costa got his 12th goal with a classy finish, putting the ball through Morán’s leg before finishing with a fine right-footed shot to the corner. He opened his arms, and David Villa chased him down to congratulate him. The originator of the goal was none other than Koke. Atleti headed to halftime with a breezing 2-0 lead.
The halftime preparation for Athletic did not pan out in the second half. The rojiblanco dominance got wider. Villa was close in two occasions to tally his second goal of the night, while Diego Costa battled for his second, but it was evident that duo of Villa-Costa can only get in better in the next weeks, to the point that both will be able to decipher where each is without looking up to check.
Morán got booked a red card in the 79th minute, weakening his side and shutting down any minimal chance of a 1-2. Susaeta came in for Beñat, but his presence was equally unperceived as Beñat’s. Muniain had the 1-2, a minute after Iraola headed to the bleachers, but got tangled up in enhancing a play that needed only a shot, not dribbling away from two defenders and then shooting. His shot went centimetres off Thibaut Courtois, another peña member in the stadium.
The last time Atlético lost in Vicente Calderón was May 12th, 2013 against FC Barcelona, 1-2. The present season undefeated home streak continues in Diego Costa and David Villa territory.
Atlético Madrid 2-0 Athletic Bilbao
Referee: Teixeira Vitienes
Atlético Madrid XI: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe; Adrián (71′), Gabi, Tiago, Koke; Diego Costa, David Villa (82′).
Goals: David Villa (32′), Diego Costa (40′), Diego Costa (64′), Gabi (90′)
Subs: Raul García (71′), Rodriguez (82′), Luis Garcia (76′)
Yellow Cards: Miranda (6′), Godín (22′), Juanfran (59′), Diego Costa (73′), Raul García (75′), .
Athletic Bilbao XI: Iraizoz; Iraola, Gurpegui, Laporte (68′), Balenziaga (36′); San José, Mike Rico, Beñat (53′); De Marcos, Muniain; Aduriz.
Goals: Oriol Riera (42′), Diego Costa (72′)
Subs: Morán (36′), Susaeta (53′), Albizua (68′)
Yellow Cards: Muniain (44′), Iraola (27′), Morán (63′, 79′)
Red Card: Morán (79′)