ATLÉTICO MADRID 0-0 SEVILLA
Atleti and ten-man Sevilla locked in stalemate
Atlético gave up their lead at the top of the table after drawing a blank against a stubborn Sevilla side. Vitolo was sent off after 61 minutes.
It was a spring-like January afternoon at the Vicente Calderón and one that held great promise for Atlético as they aimed to redress the balance and show their stuff to reclaim top spot from Barcelona. Yet this promise faded away over the course of 90 minutes as they were unable to break down Sevilla’s stubborn resistance, despite the visitors playing with ten men for the last 30 minutes.
In the end it was a frustrating afternoon for El Cholo Simeone, who might have to spend this week working on ensuring his players convert their chances into goals – keeping clean sheets is always welcome, but it has its limitations. In the last 180 minutes Atlético have drawn a blank, which can only mean two things: they are no longer LaLiga leaders and on Wednesday they face a do-or-die tie against Celta for a place in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.
The first half only really simmered away in the sunshine with both sides threatening to flicker into life. Emery had handed Llorente the task of making himself a nuisance and imposing his aerial threat, but the Spanish striker had a relatively quiet afternoon and was replaced in the second half. Vietto was given his chance at the other end, but he too failed to make his mark on the game.
It wasn’t until the 61st minute when Vitolo was shown a second yellow card for taking down Vietto on the edge of the Atlético area that the home side smelt blood and surely felt the game would tip in their favour. Unai Emery also became shrouded in red mist over the incident and was subsequently sent to the stands for some choice words on the touchline.
Simeone brought on Carrasco and Jackson in an attempt to push for the result, yet it was Griezmann who almost broke the deadlock as he hit the post with a header from Koke’s cross.
However, despite the red and white attacking wave that defined the last third of the game, and Sevilla’s numerical disadvantage, Atlético came up against a brick wall. Every chance held the same kind of promise as the weather in the Spanish capital, but Simeone’s men just came up short. Gabi’s volley forced a decent save from Sergio, while Carrasco failed to take advantage of a late free-kick. Simeone has proved before he is capable of miracles and generating something out of very little, but his side just had to make do with a point that felt like a missed opportunity.