Atletico Madrid were embarrassed at home by La Liga’s bottom-placed side Levante, dealing a blow to their top-four chase.
Atletico Madrid suffered a shock home defeat at the hands of La Liga’s basement club Levante, dealing a major blow to their top-four hopes. Diego Simeone’s men had the perfect opportunity to cement their position as one of the leading challengers for the Champions League spots but now face an uphill task at regaining momentum.
The defeat laid bare the glaring problems at Atletico Madrid, who lacked outlets to penetrate a usually leaky Levante defence. The visitors had conceded a league-high 50 goals before this game but incredibly managed to keep a clean sheet at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Gonzalo Melero was the party spoiler, as scored the game’s only goal nine minutes after the restart. This was also Levante’s second win of the season, and they were comfortable for large parts, considering Atletico Madrid barely troubled them during the game.
Atletico Madrid had Jan Oblak to thank for keeping the score respectable, as the Slovenian saved brilliantly from a one-on-one chance. In hindsight, the game exposed plenty of problems the Rojiblancos are dealing with and possibly showed why they have not been worthy of retaining their La Liga crown. Here’s how the Atletico Madrid stars fared during their shock loss to Levante.
Jan Oblak: 6/10
The Slovenian would be happy with his overall performance after a dismal season so far, even though Atletico Madrid went down to Levante. Oblak made some notable saves, commanded his box and superbly kept out a one-on-one chance against Jorge De Frutos.
?| Jan Oblak: "…if we're not at our maximum, it's impossible to win. We didn't start well. We didn't play a good game and in the end, the result is what it is. We lost and it's hard. It's a really difficult moment but we all need to be better and give a lot more. We're not…"
— Atletico Universe (@atletiuniverse) February 16, 2022
Marcos Llorente: 5/10
Llorente’s attacking talents were pushed back as Simeone clearly instructed him not to foray forward. He did improve when Rodrigo De Paul was taken off; however, his performances have seen a dip lately, even at right-back.
Stefan Savic: 5.5/10
Savic put in an assured display, although he remains part of an insecure Atletico Madrid defence. He did nothing wrong against Levante but will have to take indirect blame for the sloppy goal his side conceded.
Jose Maria Gimenez: 4/10
A terrible evening for the Uruguayan, who was sloppy at the back and made some glaring mistakes. De Frutos took advantage of the carelessness but could not score past Oblak. Moreover, Gimenez stirred more controversy after shushing the whistling home crowd.
Reinildo Mandava: 4.5/10
Reinildo Mandava should be blamed for letting Melero get past him for the goal; but it does throw shade on some of his good work from left-back. Since joining Atletico Madrid, he has largely been solid and could be a good prospect of the future.
Geoffrey Kondogbia: 6/10
Kondogbia put in an improved performance compared to the last few weeks. The 29-year-old midfielder was energetic in the middle of the park and helped plenty in the attacking third.
Rodrigo De Paul: 3/10
Performances like the one against Levante are why De Paul finds himself on the bench more than he would like. After being booked early, the Argentine came close to being sent off while having no meaningful impact on proceedings.
Koke produced yet another disappointing performance on the pitch, and it is clear he can only perform better with the ball at his feet. While he addressed his midfield duties alongside Kondogbia, there is so much lacking from his game this season, a process that continued against Levante.
Thomas Lemar: 5/10
There were signings of a growing partnership with Reinildo Mandava on the left flank, but Lemar could not affect the game as he was mostly stuck between defending and the thought of going forward. In reality, the wide-area is not the Frenchman’s correct position as he could be much useful in a central role when Carrasco returns.
Matheus Cunha: 4.5/10
As there was no creative spark behind him, Cunha was reduced to feeding off half chances and trying to create something on his own. He was left to do chase long balls as Atletico Madrid seemed hesitant against the Levante press.
Angel Correa: 5/10
Although much like Cunha, he looked controlled in the box, Correa did not get the correct service to make his mark. He also had a goal being disallowed late on due to Gimenez’s foul in the build-up.
— Santiago Vallejo (@Santiair23) February 16, 2022
Sime Vrsaljko: 4/10
Vrsaljko was sent to produce something different going forward, but he made no impact after coming on despite producing some positive moments.
Joao Felix: 4/10
Felix is not a player who works well under pressure and when the time to get a result is less. A similar pattern ensued against Levante, and the Portuguese international could not tip the scales in Atletico Madrid’s favour.
Luis Suarez: N/A
Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Renan Lodi: N/A
Like the other late substitutions, Lodi was barely useful with 13 minutes left to play.
Hector Herrera: N/A
Herrera was introduced late on along with Lodi, and he barely made an impact.