The UEFA Champions League is a pretty prestigious competition, which clubs must put their best foot forward at all times. So, it makes sense for Atletico Madrid to want to put Diego Costa, their best player, in its starting lineup. However, is an injured Costa really better than no Costa at all? I truly do not think the good outweighed the bad, especially after Atletico ended up drawing against FC Barcelona.
Costa’s health was already questionable prior to the match; some were assuming he would not be playing during the first leg, and Barcelona was already feeling a little lucky. Much to my surprise, Costa was not only available for the match, but he was starting as well. I thought the soccer gods had smiled on Atletico and given their best player his health back, but 30 minutes into the match, Costa limped off the pitch with a hamstring injury.
The reason Atletico wants Costa in the lineup is because he is amazing at scoring goals, and he’s scored plenty against Barcelona, which isn’t easy. Yet he was unable to score any in the 30 minutes he played today, and it was actually Diego Ribas, his substitute, who scored Atletico’s goal. So, was putting Costa in the match really worth it? I don’t think so.
Atletico should have let their start striker sit the match out. Instead of playing a rough 30 minutes, he could have used the time to make sure he reached peak fitness; Costa would have been a scarier challenger in leg 2. Now, if Diego’s injury heals in time, Atletico will again be risking a graver injury just to have him on the pitch.
At least Atletico is now a step ahead for the second leg. Regardless of whether or not Costa will play, Atletico is up by an away goal and is set to finish the series at home. Hopefully, the rambunctious fans rooting for their side, along with players like Ribas and David Villa will bring them the confidence needed to beat Barcelona. It will not be an easy task.
Don’t forget to check RantSports.com next week and see how the second leg of Atletico Madrid vs. FC Barcelona went.