Atletico Madrid 0-0 Lokomotiv Moscow: VAR denies Koke as Simeone's men are held

By Patric Ridge 26 November 2020 15
Atletico Madrid 0-0 Lokomotiv Moscow: VAR denies Koke as Simeone's men are held

Atletico Madrid's chances of finishing top of Champions League Group A are over after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Lokomotiv Moscow, with Koke having a goal ruled out by VAR.

Diego Simeone's side – without star forward Luis Suarez after the Uruguay international tested positive for coronavirus – needed to win on Wednesday in order to keep slim hopes of pipping holders Bayern Munich to top spot alive.

Yet, despite a bright start in which Joao Felix and Yannick Carrasco went close, Atleti failed to overcome their Russian opponents for a second successive match.

Koke had a goal disallowed for a marginal offside decision, with Jose Gimenez heading wide late on as Atleti were frustrated.

Joao Felix should have put Atleti ahead in the third minute, only to slash at Marcos Llorente's low cut-back, with Carrasco's follow up flashing wide.

Llorente continued to wreak havoc down the right and teed up Angel Correa for a chance before he saw a thumping effort saved by Guilherme.

Lokomotiv's goalkeeper denied Llorente again before the half-hour, moments after tipping a Carrasco shot wide.

Atleti thought they had the lead when Guilherme parried Carrasco's free-kick into Koke, who tucked home, but VAR disallowed the goal for part of Koke's shoulder being offside.

The officials had another big call to make in the 73rd minute, when Joao Felix went down under pressure from Dmitri Zhivoglyadov, though the replays clearly showed Atleti's number seven had engineered the contact.

Guilherme was caught in no man's land as he parried out to Stefan Savic, but his cushioned volley was headed clear.

Stanislav Magkeev subsequently let Atleti off the hook when he sliced wide on the counter, though Gimenez could not make it count when his 89th-minute header inched wide of the upright.

 

What does it mean? Work to do for Atleti

Atleti have only lost one of their last 24 Champions League home games, but their toothless display on Wednesday has left them on five points from their four games. They sit second, seven points behind Bayern and just two ahead of Lokomotiv, while Salzburg are fourth with one point.

With Bayern visiting Madrid next week, Atleti could be in real danger of slipping out if they do not get a result against the holders.

Guilherme comes up big

Though he did finish the match in somewhat nervy fashion, visiting goalkeeper Guilherme delivered a fine performance overall, particularly in the first half.

He made five saves, keeping out every shot that he faced, with Atleti's other attempt on target cleared by a defender.

Atleti's attack fails to find its spark in Suarez's absence

Atleti did just fine without Suarez against Barcelona in their last LaLiga game, but missed the 33-year-old's presence this time out.

They had 20 attempts in total, but landed just six on target, with the in-form Joao Felix particularly wasteful with his two efforts. Their tally of shots is the most a team has managed in a Champions League game this season without scoring.

Key Opta facts

- Atletico Madrid have not lost any of their last 12 Champions League home games (W9 D3), their best unbeaten run at home in the competition's history.
- Atletico have failed to score in a Champions League home game for the first time since March 2017 against Bayer Leverkusen (0-0) and for the first time in the group stage at home since December 2009 against Porto (0-3).
- Koke has become the first player in Atletico history to reach 100 games in European competitions: 69 in the Champions League, 29 in the Europa League and two in the European Super Cup.
- Only Istanbul Basaksehir's Edin Visca (nine vs Paris Saint-Germain) attempted more shots without scoring in a Champions League game than Atletico's Carrasco on Wednesday (seven)
- Lokomotiv Moscow have never won an away game against Spanish opponents in European competition, but they have drawn for the second time after holding Real Madrid in December 2002 (2-2).

What's next?

Atleti head to Valencia in their next LaLiga outing on Saturday, while Lokomotiv face Akhmat Grozny in the Russian Premier League.

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Patric Ridge

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