Bilbao (Spain), March 17 (IANS) Atletico Madrid capped off a week to forget with a 2-0 away loss to Athletic Bilbao in a La Liga clash, a defeat that could leave them 10 points behind first-placed FC Barcelona by the end of the weekend.
Four days after a crushing 3-0 round-of-16 second-leg loss to Juventus that eliminated them from the Champions League, the Colchoneros put in a poor performance on Saturday at San Mames Stadium in this northern Spanish city, Efe news reported.
Both goals came towards the end of the match and were scored thanks to two players — Inigo Cordoba and Kenan Kodro — who had taken the field just moments before those game-deciding plays.
The first came in the 73rd minute when Cordoba sent in an angled pass that travelled between Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak and a defender before reaching Inaki Williams, who tapped the ball home.
Kodro finished off the second scoring play in the 85th minute, when he received a pass from Ibai Gomez and fired a shot that hit off Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodrigo and travelled just beyond the reach of a leaping Oblak and into the back of the net.
Afterwards, Atletico head coach Diego Simeone admitted it was difficult for his players to get up for Saturday’s match in the wake of their Champions League disappointment.
“After the bad match in Turin, we had trouble getting going in the first half and didn’t create any danger. The second half was different. The team showed they wanted to win and we had some chances to score, but we didn’t do it and they capitalized very well on the ones they had,” Simeone said.