In La Liga‘s week 34 opener, the league-leaders, Atletico Madrid, triumphed over Elche by a score of 2-0 thanks to strikes from Miranda and Diego Costa. Both players stood firm and concentrated in their respective halves of the field, but their extra push truly awarded their team the victory.
Coach Diego Simeone was inspirational on the sidelines as he kept on waving his arms and screaming with the fans to boost the team morale which was a bit low early on in the second. He also made a game-changing move when he took off striker/winger Adrian Lopez to replace him with midfield ace Raul Garcia who truly spearheaded this team’s spirit on both ends of the ball.
One player who was off his game was definitely David Villa, who managed to have a penalty kick saved after he missed an easy tap-in towards the end of the opening 45 minutes. He was replaced by Diego Ribas who added a bit of creativity, possession and calmness to the attacking players which really settled things down for the Colchoneros.
Elche are in a fight to stay in the top division and they truly did do a great job of playing Atletico with everything they had. They forced the home side to shift into fifth gear to really start moving on both ends of the ball as a bit of underestimation was obvious earlier in the game. They calmly possessed the ball in the final third, but they could not find any clear-cut chances in the second half which is when everything truly mattered.
Atletico Madrid now only have to win their next three games to guarantee the league title. If they do, then their final match at Barcelona on May 18th will be meaningless for them as they would have already guaranteed title number 10.
On Tuesday, they will host Chelsea in the semi-final first-leg of the Champions League in a game in which they will want to build a hefty aggregate lead before visiting Stamford bridge on the following Wednesday. With Arda Turan set to return to the starting line-up and everyone else on high form, the team is ready for this next challenge.