Lacklustre Atletico drop points, lose Torres to scary injury at Deportivo
The famous new manager bounce caught a distinctly below-par Atletico Madrid cold as they somehow escaped Estadio Riazor with a 1-1 draw against Deportivo La Coruna on Thursday.
Atletico were lucky to go in at the break just a single Florin Andone goal down and rode their luck in the second period before a wonderful effort from Antoine Griezmann drew them somewhat undeservedly level. However, the game was overshadowed by a sickening injury to Fernando Torres late on.
Immediate reports suggest that Torres regained consciousness shortly after appearing to be knocked out cold while swallowing his tongue. On the playing front: a draw is better than a defeat.
The side looked leggy, lethargic and could barely string two passes together. Add to that the defence still looking all at sea against a side barely out of the relegation zone, a complete lack of presence in midfield and an absence of ideas up.
Manager rating out of 10
3 -- Diego Simeone did not appear to envisage the inevitable lift Deportivo would get from having a new boss and faced the ignominy of being outdone by Pepe Mel all night.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jan Oblak, 5 -- An atrocious goal kick was as good as a through ball for Andone and allowed the home side to pick up a head of steam early on. Went some way to making up for it with a flying save on the stroke of half-time.
DF Sime Vrsaljko, 5 -- Pretty much summed up his side's night when he accidentally let a ball run out of play late on. Attacked with gusto but struggled to forge any sort of defensive understanding with Jose Gimenez inside him and it was painful to watch at times.
DF Jose Maria Gimenez, 4 -- Was bullied by Andone all night. Could have prevented the goal but in the end aided the Romanian striker. His lack of understanding with Vrsaljko did not help as they quarrelled more than once.
DF Diego Godin, 5 -- Still does not look right. Lost his bearings on several occasions and when he was up against Andone, he frequently came out second best.
DF Filipe Luis, 7 -- Easily the best of a very bad bunch at the back. Did his job with the minimum of fuss at both ends and smashed the post with a thunderbolt immediately before Griezmann equalised.
MF Angel Correa, 6 -- Was his side's only above average attacking performer in the first period. Forced a smart stop from Deportivo goalkeeper German Lux and looked the most likely to make anything happen before being surprisingly subbed.
MF Koke, 4 -- The Invisible Man. Did not get involved in the game at all and was frequently found wanting in the midfield, be it in from the middle or a more nominally wide position. His game was summed up when he misplaced a simple three-yard pass to Vrsaljko straight out of play before being hooked on the hour.
MF Gabi, 5 -- Not much better than Koke, but was at least able to pass to someone wearing the same coloured shirt from close range.
MF Thomas Partey, 4 -- Unable to live up to his surname and take advantage of a rare start. Is energetic and enthusiastic, but the gulf in class between him and regular Saul Niguez was never more evident than seeing his lack of incision when in possession.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 7 -- Did not particularly enjoy a very good game, often miscontrolling or running the ball out of play. Nevertheless, he came up trumps with the goal when his side needed a big moment from a big player.
FW Kevin Gameiro, 5 -- Always a willing runner, but was not given the service to make any sort of meaningful contribution -- one purposeful counter attack in which he was pole-axed aside.
MF Yannick Carrasco, 5 -- Strolled around for half an hour and made the wrong decisions when in possession -- save for his lay-off to Griezmann for the goal.
MF Nicolas Gaitan, 5 -- Not the man for a backs to the wall job, but was involved nicely in the build-up to the goal.
FW Fernando Torres, NR -- Denied by a wonder save before being stretchered off after a nasty fall.
Joseph Walker covers Atletico Madrid for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @Joe_in_espana.