Atletico Madrid lost more ground on Real Madrid in the race for second place in La Liga as they held on for a 0-0 draw at Getafe despite being reduced to nine men.
The visitors had the better of the chances in the first-half yesterday,but had to ride their luck in the second as Getafe were denied a strong claim for a penalty before Mario Suarez was sent-off for a second yellow card.Thibaut Courtois then had to make a fine save from Borja Fernandez with six minutes remaining before Diego Godin was also given his marching orders for a second bookable offence in stoppage time.
The draw means Atletico have now won just one of their last five league games and manager Diego Simeone accepts they are struggling to reproduce their early season form.
“I think we can look at it from the point of view that we have 62 points,” he told a press conference.”The season is very long and the opponents start to know you and look for solutions.
“We won in Pamplona (against Osasuna),drew against Valencia and here. We would like to continue improving and it is true that we have not been as efficient as we were earlier in the season.”
Atletico’s dip in form has also coincided with Radamel Falcao scoring just once in the last five outings,but Simeone defended the Colombian’s record so far this season.
“We know Radamel is an important player in front of goal and his numbers are incredible.”He has 22 goals with eight games to go,which is only two less than he had last season. I don’t think this has happened very often.
“I hope we will always have a striker that assures this number of goals.” MORE Falcao did though uncharacteristically miss a great chance to give Atleti the lead early on when he prodded wide from Diego Costa’s cross.
Adrian should also have hit the target seven minutes later after cutting inside on to his right foot as Atlet started brightly.
However,the game then descended into a lull and only came back to life at the beginning of the second-half.
Abdel Barrada forced Courtois into a good low save four minutes after the restart before,at the other end,Filipe Luis also saw a fierce strike turned behind by Jordi Codina.
Codina got down well at his near post to deny Falcao with a low drive moments later,but Atletico were then extremely lucky not to concede a penalty.
Referee Carlos Delgado Ferreiro somehow judged that Godin’s trip on Adrian Colunga took place just outside the box despite contact clearly being made well inside the area andm Barrada sent the resulting free-kick inches wide.
Simeone’s men weren’t so lucky minutes later though as Suarez saw a harsh second yellow for handball.
However,despite the man advantage,Getafe struggled to create chances and their best effort came when Borja let fly from 25 yards,but Courtois showed strong hands to parry the ball to safety. And a scrappy game was summed up when Godin was shown also shown a second yellow card for catching Alvaro Vasquez as they contested a high ball.