Atletico Madrid’s mixed start to the new season continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Sociedad away at the Reale Stadium on Saturday.
Los Rojiblancos started the game well, with Alvaro Morata finding the back of the net just five minutes to put them in front. However, a controversial goal from Umar Sadiq ten minutes into the second half allowed La Real to salvage a point from the fixture.
The equalising goal and the refereeing decision have come under much scrutiny as Sadiq appeared to have handled the ball before it ended up in the back of the net.
However, the VAR chose not to intervene despite having not given Atletico Madrid a goal in the first half when the ball had hit Joao Felix’s hand before Morata sent it into the net.
Atletico Madrid were unhappy with the calls made and Morata took aim at the officiating and the VAR for their decisions.
“It happens so fast on the pitch that it’s almost impossible to see, we understand that, but there are also people in the VAR room, and it’s all based on criteria. These aren’t decisions that are made as they explained it to us, it’s up to their criteria,” he said.
“On the pitch, you can’t see much. In the end, we can’t do anything and we just have to play and accept what happens because nothing will change. They won’t change anything that happened,” he added.
Axel Witsel also chimed in on the officiating on the night, saying: “We played a good game today, as a whole.
“I think that getting just one point was a shame because in the goal that we conceded, based on the video replay, I think the attacker used his hand to score – first his head, then his hand. We deserved more than a point.”
Atletico Madrid captain Koke was also critical of the decisions made by the match officials, as he said: “The team made a great effort, I think we deserved a lot more. We were penalized by details.
“I think their goal was scored with the hand. They [the referees] come to give us chats, then later they do the opposite. It’s happened in several games, but that’s football…”
Source: Atletico Madrid YouTube
Atletico Madrid will try to sign Arsenal, Liverpool target for free in the summer
Atletico Madrid saw a lot of movement during the January transfer window as they saw several players leave, while also bringing in a couple of new faces in.
But one player who they tried to sign and could not is Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram.
Indeed, according to AS, was on the top of director Andrea Berta’s list for the winter window as he is in the final six months of his contract. But, Gladbach asked for a fee of around €10-12 million to offload him, which prompted Atletico Madrid to move for Depay instead.
But the report states that Thuram continues to be on the agenda at the Civitas Metropolitano and Berta will try to sign him again in the summer transfer window.
However, there will be intense competition for the 25-year-old’s services given that he will be available for a free transfer at the end of the season.
Juventus and Inter Milan have shown an interest in Thuram, but there are a lot of clubs in England wishing to sign him up.
Indeed, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are all said to be gunning for the French forward’s signing while more clubs could join the list of his suitors as days progress.
So, it will be important for Atletico Madrid to achieve a top-four finish in La Liga and qualify for the UEFA Champions League for next season if they wish to attract a player of Thuram’s capability and calibre.
The 25-year-old has netted 13 goals and set up four more in 19 matches across all competitions. His ability to play anywhere across the frontline makes him an attractive prospect for interested parties such as Atletico.
But given the intense competition, Diego Simeone & co. will need to act swiftly if they wish to sign Thuram.