Delivered first to Barrios to sustain themselves, suffering from a carousel of midfielders due to the injuries of the youth player and Witsel, Atlético missed victory due to a header in the last play by Provedel, the Lazio goalkeeper, in the 94th minute. This had already been decisive in a handball one-on-one with Lino who would have closed the game and ended up tying it. Simeone’s team had overcome a bad first half, generated play and chances in the second and encountered that final setback that means the opposing goalkeeper scores a goal on his desperate climb to the rival area.
Ivan Provedel, Luca Pellegrini (Manuel Lazzari, min. 37), Patric, Romagnoli, Adam Marusic, Luis Alberto, Matias Vecino (Cataldi, min. 76), Daichi Kamada (Matteo Guendouzi, min. 61), Immobile, Felipe Anderson ( Gustav Isaksen, min. 61) and Zaccagni (Pedro, min. 76)
Oblak, Witsel (Correa, min. 74), Savic, Mario Hermoso, Nahuel Molina, Samuel Lino (Rodrigo Riquelme, min. 79), Pablo Barrios Rivas (Giménez, min. 45), Saúl, Marcos Llorente, Griezmann and Morata
Goals 0-1 min. 29: Pablo Barrios Rivas. 1-1 min. 94: Ivan Provedel.
Referee Slavko Vincic
Yellow cards Griezmann (min. 26), Samuel Lino (min. 66), Immobile (min. 83) and Correa (min. 93)
Without any game in the first half, giving up the ball, Atlético first had to entrust itself to Pablo Barrios. The youth player, placed in midfield by Simeone early due to Koke’s injury, showed the way to his team when the match was looking worst. Simeone’s footballers gathered around Barrios to defend and to find some meaning in the game when the ball passed through the cherub’s boots. He was the best with the ball and without it. The seesaw that Lazio turned the match into due to the pasty bounce of his touches died many times in the boy’s instinct to recover the ball.
Only the atypical Luis Alberto, governor of that football The slow pace that Maurizio Sarri proposes in the three quarters of the field, became a threat for Atlético. In this football of physically cycled players with a permanent turbo, Luis Alberto’s ball footprints are anachronistic. It is an honor to the ball and its supremacy. A way of saying: “First I think, then I play.” He has a lot of credit for his career in Italy and for having become a symbol of a historic club. A volley from him rushed Oblak. They can say Simeone and the cholismo that Lazio hardly bothered them in the first half, that they defended the spaces well. The problem is when facing teams with more inventiveness, more overflow and more firepower. Giving up so much space and so much possession voluntarily are not the traits with which Simeone and his players were able to dignify the second part of last season.
For some time now, Atlético has been less Atlético when it decides to withdraw into its own field. He couldn’t find a clean outlet for the ball with either Hermoso or Witsel and he didn’t stretch out on the sides with Nahuel and Lino either. This is the main candidate to fill the hole left in the left lane by Carrasco’s departure. Griezmann’s first 45 minutes were also worrying, very far from the
In the middle of that nothingness, a long ball was dropped by Nahuel Molina at the top of the area. Patiently, he looked up and saw Barrios’s arrival. The right hand sneaked in after hitting Kamada. In half an hour, Atlético had done little, but the fact that the boy chose well to drop down to look over the balcony of the area put him ahead.
The goal further elevated Barrios’ ancestry and transcendence. His teammates gave themselves to him when he asked for the ball and Simeone cheered him on every time he won a takeaway. He paid the kid for the extra efforts. He limped off to rest and did not return.
Barrios’ injury forced Simeone to make the first touch in the heart of the midfield. Giménez entered and Witsel abandoned the axis of the three-center defense to take Barrios’ place. The Belgian contributed to maintaining the growth of the team that Barrios had started. It was another Atlético, more dominating of the ball in the opposite field. This helped the Griezmann who was missed in the first half to emerge. He began to look for free spaces to link triangulations that decomposed Lazio. They began to like Atlético at the touch with the Frenchman as the easy football distributor. However, a poor delivery from Oblak was intercepted by Luis Alberto with a header to assist Immobile. The Slovenian goalkeeper corrected his mistake by quickly closing the space for the veteran Italian striker.
That scare gave way to a cascade of chances for Atlético to close the game. First Griezmann kicked a free shot into the stands with the entire goal for him after a good raid by Llorente. Shortly thereafter, Morata mishandled a shot that hit the post after hitting a Lazio player. Provedel blocked a one-on-one with Lino on another opportunity that seemed definitive.
Lazio’s response to the torrent of play that Atlético displayed was a cornered and poisoned shot from Marusik that required a good hand from Oblak. An isolated play that emboldened Sarri’s team. Even more so when Witsel also broke. Saúl acted as the third midfielder to try to withstand Lazio’s pushes. He had victory in hand, until Provedel’s head appeared.