Savic helps low-energy Atletico escape with draw at Betis, secure third place
Atletico Madrid suffered a minor European hangover as they laboured to a 1-1 draw away to Real Betis in which they were by far second-best all afternoon.
Betis were first to every ball as Atletico looked tired in an opening 45 minutes devoid of quality. Manager Diego Simeone's men were grateful to keeper Jan Oblak for keeping them in it with a number of standout saves in the first half.
Dani Ceballos' stunning volley just after the restart gave the home side the lead they deserved. However, a first goal for Stefan Savic ensured a share of the spoils.
The point is enough to guarantee a third-place finish for Atletico and ensure Champions League football at the Wanda Metropolitano next season.
Once again, Atletico are the best of the rest in Spain, albeit this season the gap between them and the two giants is bigger than it has been in a while. However, after a midseason slump and dodgy start to the campaign, finishing in third and avoiding a playoff for the Champions League is no mean feat.
Likewise Ceballos, who has been touted for a summer move to Los Colchoneros, did his case no harm whatsoever.
The side were not at the races, but after the emotional and physical energy expended on Wednesday, a Sunday night trip to Seville was not exactly the easiest thing to get up for. There are some players who should be worried for their futures with the club.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Simeone did not rotate enough, but that probably tells you what he thinks of the likes of Nicolas Gaitan & Co. in reserve. Got the necessary point to secure third.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jan Oblak, 8 -- Had a much, much busier afternoon than he would have envisaged pre-kickoff. Pulled off no fewer than four top-drawer saves to ensure Atleti were not embarrassed here.
DF Jose Maria Gimenez, 6 -- Another decent showing at right-back without excelling. Picked up a yellow card and will miss the last-ever La Liga game at the Calderon which, given his contractual situation, could mean he has played his final game there. Hopefully not.
DF Stefan Savic, 7 -- Might have done better in blocking Ceballos' volley, but that is perhaps a tad harsh. Besides, he more than made up for it with a maiden Atleti goal to spare his side's blushes.
DF Lucas Hernandez, 6 -- Always does what is asked of him, be it in the middle of the defence or out wide. Will have a big role to play next season.
DF Filipe Luis, 5 -- Not the only one who looked shattered after the midweek exertions. The season is over for the Brazil international, who will also miss the club's next game after picking up a booking.
MF Yannick Carrasco, 6 -- It is hard to tell if the Belgium international is in a slump or if his purple patch earlier this season was the exception, rather than the rule. Promises a lot, but more often than not does not deliver on that promise.
MF Koke, 6 -- Swung in a dangerous cross for Savic's goal, but was out on his feet by the end.
MF Gabi, 5 -- Looked his age, having put in an incredible shift against Madrid. Slow in the tackle and dallied in possession, but if anyone can be excused an off day, it's him.
MF Saul Niguez, 5 -- Peripheral at best. Looks shattered and needs a break.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 5 -- Struggled for large periods and given Atleti could not attack fluidly, dropped deeper and deeper and cut a frustrated, tired figure. Another who can smell the beach.
FW Kevin Gameiro, 5 -- Not the game for the France international, which unfortunately has been the story of his season. Hooked for Fernando Torres on the hour.
MF Nicolas Gaitan, 4 -- Did he touch the ball? One of the most underwhelming debut campaigns imaginable for such a big-money signing upon whom a lot of hope was put. Would be surprising if he is still at the club next season.
FW Fernando Torres, 6 -- Fared marginally better than the man he replaced, but not much.
MF Thomas Partey, N/R -- Brought a bit of energy into things for the final 15 minutes or so.
Joseph Walker covers Atletico Madrid for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @Joe_in_espana.