This season’s edition of the Champions League is here and Group A saw a clash between Monaco and Atletico Madrid. The visitors ran out 2-1 winners thanks to goals from Diego Costa and Jose Gimenez to secure a comeback.
The match started with Monaco on the front foot, exploiting space on the wings and using pace to catch Atletico off guard. They were quickly rewarded, with a goal coming in the first 20 minutes.
A surging run forward resulted in a misplaced cut back that fell to the Atleti defenders. But Radamel Falcao did well to win the ball back with a strong tackle and bring it into the box, where his pass caused confusion for the away side. After several failed clearances, Samuel Grandsir managed to poke the loose ball home from close range.
Atletico were stalled by conceding, but slowly and surely they got back into the game. Their breakthrough occurred on the counter, when Koke passed to Griezmann in the midfield. The French striker quickly flicked the ball into space behind the Monaco backline and Diego Costa pounced on the pass. With no one but the goalkeeper in his way, Costa made no mistake and eliminated Monaco’s lead.
Monaco’s bad luck reared its head once again, this time right before halftime. A Koke corner kick found a towering Gimenez, who superbly directed his header into the net, leaving no chance for Benaglio.
The second half saw the tempo slow down significantly, but that allowed Monaco to regain some of their momentum. The number of chances created became equal between the two sides, but low in general. Despite all of that, the second half was still a hard-fought battle between two excellent counterattacking teams.
Unfortunately for Monaco, none of those chances resulted in another goal.
Monaco came into the match with an excellent gameplan to make Atletico uncomfortable. They defended well in their half, but their skill showed through their deadly counterattacks. Utilizing the pace of their wide players, Monaco pushed forward every time they won the ball, making it difficult for Juanfran and Lucas Hernandez to cope. Then, they used different types of crosses to create confusion in the Atleti penalty area, which resulted in a goal.
Atletico responded well by tightening up their defense around their penalty area to deal with the inevitable crosses that came from Monaco’s wide attacks. Then, by drawing Monaco in, Atletico were able to counter as well, which led to their first goal.
Man of the Match: Koke
The Spanish midfielder did well to help set up the first goal and delivered a wonderful corner kick for the second goal to give Atletico an important win away to Monaco.
Besides his direct contributions, Koke was active in every position in midfield, distributing passes on the attacking half of the pitch and applying pressure on the defensive end.
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