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Levante 2-2 Atletico Madrid: Diego Simeone SENT OFF in draw for reigning LaLiga champions

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Levante 2-2 Atletico Madrid: Diego Simeone SENT OFF for two acts of dissent as reigning LaLiga champions suffer another draw, conceding two penalties to lowly Levante in stalemate

  •  Atletico Madrid’s title defence hit another snag with a 2-2 draw at lowly Levante
  • Antoine Griezmann headed away side Atleti into an early lead on 13 minutes
  • But Luis Suarez conceded a clumsy penalty which Enis Bardhi converted
  • Simeone sent on Matheus Cunha who made it 2-1 shortly after coming on
  • But Simeone was sent off for a second yellow card before Levante equalised
  • Bardhi hit another penalty after Lodi was adjudged to have handled in the box 


This was a 90 minutes that ultimately summed up Atletico Madrid’s season so far – a manual of what to expect from Diego Simeone’s side. 

There’s commitment and determination, the hard-working runs such as Antoine Griezmann collecting a cutback from his own cross to head Atleti in front on 13 minutes.

There’s also the array of attacking talent available to Simeone, with Matheus Cunha coming off the bench to put the reigning champions 2-1 up when Griezmann, Luis Suarez and Joao Felix started to look stale. 

But then there’s the defensive insecurities, the inability to keep a clean sheet, the clumsiness to concede two penalties in either half. The overall result? An unstable title defence. One win four and failure to beat a side without a league victory all season is not exactly title-chasing form. 

Atletico Madrid conceded two penalties to draw 2-2 to winless Levante (above) on Thursday

Atletico Madrid conceded two penalties to draw 2-2 to winless Levante (above) on Thursday

Atleti's Diego Simeone (above) was sent off for two separate acts of dissent towards officials

Atleti’s Diego Simeone (above) was sent off for two separate acts of dissent towards officials

Atleti started Thursday night’s game brightly when Joao Felix stung the palms of Levante goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez with a fierce long-range effort, which came just minutes before Griezmann’s opener. 

After a corner was cleared as far as the French international, Griezmann crossed for Felipe, with the defender heading it back across goal to onrushing and aforementioned forward – who was on hand to nod home his first LaLiga goal since returning to Atleti from Barcelona over the summer. 

The early setback did little to frustrate Levante, however, though they only started applying pressure to an Atleti defence that has only kept one clean sheet in their past six games until the middle of the half.

Antoine Griezmann headed Atleti into an early lead on 13 minutes by finishing Felipe's cutback

Antoine Griezmann headed Atleti into an early lead on 13 minutes by finishing Felipe’s cutback

It was the France international's first LaLiga goal since returning to Atleti from Barcelona

It was the France international’s first LaLiga goal since returning to Atleti from Barcelona

Oscar Duarte tested Jan Oblak with a tame effort at the quarter way stage before a flurry of Levante chances took the form of pressure that ultimately brought about the equaliser.

Jose Morales’ deflected cross bounced just wide of Jan Oblak’s post before the resulting corner saw Rober Pier’s flick at the near post blocked by an Atleti defender on the line and wide. 

The next set piece saw striker Suarez try pounce on a loose ball but defender Ruben Vezo got in the way. The Atleti striker collided with the Levante man straight away which saw the referee point to the spot and Bardhi sent Oblak the wrong way from 12 yards. 

It was a parity that the home side, and their raucous supporters, deserved – and their positive frustration was summed up by referee blowing the half-time whistle just as Levante were breaking on a dangerous counter-attack. This did not seem like a side playing without a win all season. 

Luis Saurez conceded a penalty just before half-time to allow winless Levante a route back in

Luis Saurez conceded a penalty just before half-time to allow winless Levante a route back in

Enis Bardhi sent Jan Oblak the wrong way to send a raucous Levante crowd wild on Thursday

Enis Bardhi sent Jan Oblak the wrong way to send a raucous Levante crowd wild on Thursday

A night to forget for Atleti was summed up by a penalty shout for a trip on Yannick Carrasco being waved away on 52 minutes – with Simeone’s own anxiety summarised by a yellow card for over-protesting that VAR should take a harder look.

But Simeone then made a more positive impact on the game. On came Cunha mid-way through the second half to change the tide and that is what he did – finishing low inside the area for his first goal for the reigning LaLiga champions following his move from Hertha Berlin.

And after Atleti regained the lead, Simone and his side lost their heads. A second yellow card came for ‘El Cholo’ – this time for a furious tirade at the fourth official for complaining about a foul.

Simeone sent on Matheus Cunha before the Atleti boss' red card and the substitute made it 2-1

Simeone sent on Matheus Cunha before the Atleti boss’ red card and the substitute made it 2-1

But Lodi was adjudged to have handled a wayward shot which Bardhi scored emphatically

But Lodi was adjudged to have handled a wayward shot which Bardhi scored emphatically

How Simeone would have reacted to the awarding of Levante’s second penalty, no-one knows. Moments after the Atleti boss strode down the tunnel after his sending off, Lodi was adjudged to have handled a wayward shot inside the six-yard box.

Harsh? Possibly, as the Atleti defender was not even looking at the ball that was fired from just a couple of yards away. What was in no doubt was the ferocity of Bardhi’s second spot kick, nestling firmly into the bottom corner. 

It could have been worse for Atleti- with Rober heading over a corner inches over the bar in the middle of eight additional minutes. The same Levante defender was sent off at the full-time whistle for over-celebrating

But the large bulk of frustration was with Atleti: in a midweek round of games where Real Madrid drew, Barcelona lost again and leaders Real Sociedad picked up another victory, does anyone want to win this LaLiga title race?

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