Sevilla drew with Atletico Madrid 1-1 in a La Liga match at Seville yesterday. It was a clash between the 2nd and 3rd placed teams in the league table and was a fiercely contested one. Sevilla scored through Wissam Ben Yedder in the 37th minute to take a 1-0 lead, but Atletico equalized through Antoine Griezmann just before half time.
Sevilla had the upper hand in the match with 55% ball possession and 15 shots against Atletico’s 12. Atletico remain in the 2nd position in the league table with 35 points from 18 matches, whereas Sevilla have 34 from the same number of matches. Barcelona extended their lead over Atletico to 5 points with a victory over Getafe last night.
Let us take a look at the 3 players who impressed the most in the match:
1. Antoine Griezmann:
Antoine Griezmann has been the talismanic players for Atletico for quite a few years now and again showed his class by scoring with a stunning free-kick yesterday. The Sevilla goalkeeper was left stranded as Griezmann’s inch-perfect free-kick found the left corner of the net. This was his 11th goal of the season and 123rd overall for Atletico.
Griezmann started on slow note in the first half and did not get enough of the ball from the Atletico midfielders. Saul Niguez was a bit off-colour in the first half and Atletico could not create any notable movement in the first 15-20 minutes. However, Sevilla’s goal shook things up, and Griezmann gradually began to come to his own.
His confidence was boosted by that wonderful free-kick and he gave a much better performance in the second half. He began to fall back more frequently to the middle third to collect balls and also played some incisive passes to his teammates. He could have scored another goal but his shot from a very short distance was saved by the Thomas Vaclik, the Sevilla goalkeeper.
Saul Niguez also got involved in the attacks more frequently in the second half and combined with Griezmann to give the Sevilla defence some trouble. However, Sevilla remained the better team and had the better share of exchanges overall.
2. Thomas Partey:
The Atletico midfielder was a livewire yesterday and gave a spirited performance. He was arguably Atletico’s best player on the pitch yesterday and should continue to trouble his opponents in the upcoming matches. This was his 117th match in an Atletico shirt and one can hope for more such performances in the future.
Partey played box-to-box at times and made some crucial tackles in the midfield. He also played some forward passes from near the half line and had an impressive work rate too. He adopted a more attacking role in the second half and tested Vaclik with a shot from outside the Sevilla penalty box. He was the most impressive player in the Atletico midfield comprising of players like Koke and Niguez.
Thomas is a very good physical specimen and quite fast too. He also kept moving to the flanks at times to help the side-midfielders in their battles with the opposition full-backs. The Atletico supporters would have great expectations from this 25 year old midfielder for the upcoming matches.
3. Jesus Navas:
Jesus Navas was quite possibly the best player in the match yesterday. The 33 year old Spanish veteran gave the Atletico left-back a hard time and penetrated into their box repeatedly. He played as the right wing-back in the second half as Sevilla adopted a 3-5-2 formation and also fell back frequently to defend.
Navas played for Manchester City from 2013 to 2017 and has also been a member of the World Cup winning Spanish side. However, he is on the wrong side of 30 now and lost some of his speed and guile as a result. Still, he can take heart from his performance yesterday, which showed that he still remains one of the world’s best in his position.
This was Navas’ 623rd club match overall, and he has also scored 45 goals in his club career. It remains a pity that he could not add to that tally yesterday, but he came quite close to providing an assist on quite a few occasions.