It Wasn't To Be-We Go Out Against Atletico Madrid

It Wasn’t To Be

It wasn’t to be last night as we crashed out of the Champions League against Atletico Madrid. Not only did we crash out but we suffered our first defeat at Anfield for such a long time. Given the balance of play and how we dominated so much it was hard enough to swallow even going out on away goals. But then when they equalised, actually going out was even worse. It got even worse though when Atletico scored a winning third goal. Where did that come from??

It Wasn’t To Be

It Wasn't To Be-We Go Out Against Atletico Madrid
It Wasn’t To Be-We Go Out Against Atletico Madrid

So as I say, it wasn’t to be. Normally you have to take a defeat on the chin and simply just move on. For instance, when we lost to Watford a few weeks ago we were well beaten. No arguments and hats off to Watford. They thoroughly deserved it. But last night, what was that all about?

Trust me my comments are not sour grapes. Like many football fans, you sometimes have to hold your hands up and say the opposition deserved it. As I say, like Watford a few weeks ago.

I haven’t read much of the media reports. I just hope that the general theme hasn’t been comments along the lines of a “Simeone Tactical Masterclass”.

If so that is so inaccurate. How can seeing your opponents have 34 shots, hit the woodwork and have your goalkeeper win the ‘man of the match’ award after making so many top drawer saves be planned for and be recognised as a tactical masterclass. In no way was that a tactical masterclass.

If they kept us at bay and we hardly had any shots and their keeper was almost redundant, then yes, that could be classed as a tactical masterclass.

It Wasn’t To Be – Certainly Not For Our Keeper

As soon as I got on the train on my way back home after the game, I checked my phone. I replied to a message from my Sunderland fan pal with “Tale Of Two Keepers.” And it was. No two ways about it. Yes we win as a team and we lose as a team but let’s not sugar coat it. We lost because their keeper was so much better than ours. It was as simple as that. No tactical genius masterclass from Diego Simeone. Just simply a terrible performance from our goalkeeper, Adrian.

In the normal 90 minutes we absolutely battered them. From memory, Adrian made a routine save during the second half when he dropped forward onto a shot straight at him. In addition to that he fumbled a routine shot soon after but fortunately recovered. Other than that absolutely nothing to do. And yes, we should have buried them in the normal 90 minutes.

Chance after chance. Save after save. As the game went on it started to have the feel of a “It wasn’t to be” kind of night.

I turned next to my friend in The Kop and asked if he could ever remember a game where we’ve been absolutely mullered and yet we have somehow managed to engineer a win. I can’t recall any such game. It seems that in any game (thankfully they are very few nowadays) where we are dominated (e.g. Watford) we lose. To see us dominate that much and go out is gut wrenching. As I said above, on away goals, or on aggregate is bad enough. But to lose that game is so hard to comprehend.

It Wasn’t To Be – Adrian Apart

It wasn’t to be for other reasons of course. Getting some proper decisions from the referee and the linesman would have been good. I lost count of the number he simply waved after yet another unpunished foul by an Atletico player. It looked like he was waving to someone he knew in the crowd.

Andy Robertson heading against the bar as well. It wasn’t going to be a rare Robbo goal night either.

The ball ping-ponging around their penalty area and just failing to fall to a red shirt – it wasn’t to be either. Or were those fortunate rebounds etc also a tactical masterclass? I don’t think so.

What was a bit of a concern though was how we seemed to, albeit not exactly, sort of fall apart after that first goal. Mind you after working so hard to get in the position we found ourselves in only to have it all taken away by a total nightmare from your keeper must have affected all outfield players.

By the way, I thought he should have done better for their second goal as well. Or, let’s put it another way. Their keeper would have saved that. And there as already mentioned determines the match summary of “Tale Of Two Keepers.”

Onwards and Upwards

Still, it wasn’t to be. No need dwelling on it for too long. I don’t mind so much going out to a good side who deserved their win. But I thought they were poor. From start to finish. Apart from their keeper. They didn’t defend particularly well. For instance, Mo Salah seemed to have the beating of his full back whenever he tried to take him on. The Ox was brilliant and couldn’t be handled by their midfielders at time. I was surprised he was subbed actually. Hendo was everywhere. Gomez and VVD were dominant and untroubled. Adrian was untroubled. Until of course his ‘moment’ in extra-time.

But never mind. Onwards and upwards. A big prize awaits. Assuming of course the coronavirus does not dictate. Talking of Covid 19, I wonder how the Champions League will now play out. Juventus have had a player tested positive so you would think that they’re not going to be playing that any time soon. Italian League matches are postponed until April 3rd at the earliest anyway, so who knows what will happen there.

But assuming the Quarter Finals go ahead as normal I do hope Atletico are eliminated in the next round. Again, that’s not sour grapes. I truly think that the tournament is deserving of better teams than Atletico in its latter stages. But there are they and we’re not. So let’s move on and clinch Number 19 as soon as possible.

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