Late Lucas Perez stunner denies Atletico
La Liga, Mendizorroza – Deportivo Alaves 1 (Perez 83’) Atletico Madrid 1 (Morata 70’)
Lucas Perez struck a stunning equaliser to peg back Atletico Madrid and give Alaves a point, costing Diego Simeone’s side dearly in the race at the top of La Liga.
The Argentine made a number of changes to the team that won against Athletic Club at the weekend, with Kieran Trippier, Koke, Thomas Partey and Alvaro Morata all dropped to the bench with Diego Costa given another chance to hit back at his critics.
An insipid first half performance suggested Simeone had made a mistake in rotating so many of his squad. It was only after the introduction of Morata that Atleti started to click, with the Spaniard scoring the opener after a clever one-two with Angel Correa.
Atletico AlavesGetty Images
Morata should have completed the job moments later when he pounced on a slack Alaves back pass, but he could only shoot straight at the goalkeeper. Perez made him pay for that miss, lashing home an incredible left-footed strike with just seven minutes left to give Alaves a share of the points.
TALKING POINT - Diego Costa no longer offers Atletico Madrid what they need in attack
There were signs in the weekend win over Athletic Club that Angel Correa and Morata were starting to form an understanding as a front two. Simeone, however, decided to give Costa another chance to hit back at his critics by starting him this evening, but his display only proved what so many are saying about him. Costa has been a great servant to Atleti, but he no longer gives them what they need from a frontman.
Diego Costa of Club Atletico de Madrid reacts during the Liga match between Deportivo Alaves and Club Atletico de Madrid at Estadio de Mendizorroza on October 29, 2019 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH - Lucas Perez (Alaves)
The former Arsenal and West Ham man was a thorn in the side of Atletico Madrid from start to finish. Up until his equaliser, his performance had been defined by his scrappy defiance and propensity for winning freekicks, but that’s not what will be remembered about his display. Perez’s left-footed effort from the edge of the box will go down as one of the goals of the season in La Liga.
55’ Best chance of the night! That was an opportunity. Herrera clipped a pass in behind the Alaves defence with Lodi making a good run, but the left back sends his low, first-time effort wide of the far post.
71’ GOAL! Alaves 0-1 Atletico Madrid: We have a breakthrough! Morata has made the difference for Atletico Madrid once again! Correa played a lovely one-two with the Spanish international and Morata showed great composure to finish through the legs of Pacheco! That was an excellent goal!
Atletico Madrid's Spanish forward Alvaro Morata celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish league football match between Deportivo Alaves and Club Atletico de Madrid at the Mendizorroza stadium in Vitoria on October 29, 2019Getty Images
73’ Should have been two! All of a sudden Atletico Madrid have found their groove! Morata pounced on a terrible back pass, he was clean through, but Pacheco made the stop to deny the striker!
78’ Almost an equaliser with his first touch! Burke had been on the pitch for a matter of seconds, but he was presented with a glorious opportunity from 10 yards out. However, his instinctive shot bounces off an Atleti defender.
83’ GOAL! Alaves 1-1 Atletico Madrid: What a stunning equaliser! Perez skipped past the challenge of two players before lashing a left-footed strike past Oblak and into the far corner of the net! That was a special goal from the Alaves striker who is in exceptional form! Wow!
Atletico Madrid have now won just two of their last eight La Liga fixtures.