Atletico Madrid restarted their La Liga campaign on a strong note as they secured a 2-0 victory over Elche at the Civitas Metropolitano. Second-half goals from Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata sealed the win for Diego Simeone’s side, taking them to third place in La Liga.
However, there was a blow for Atletico from the game as they saw defender Mario Hermoso get sent off in the second half, which means that the Spaniard will now miss the Rojiblancos’ next league encounter against Barcelona.
Hermoso started against Elche on Thursday as part of the three-man defensive line alongside Stefan Savic and Jose Maria Gimenez.
Five minutes into the second half, the centre-back received his first booking when he brought down Pere Milla in a dangerous position.
Seconds later, the Atletico Madrid defender, in a moment of madness, made a poor sliding challenge on Helibelton Palacios, which resulted in a second yellow and a sending-off for him.
Atletico were playing with a numerical advantage at that point as Elche had already seen one of their players receive his marching orders. Hermoso’s red card meant that the contest became a 10 vs 10, but the Rojiblancos managed to prevail and pick up an important win.
However, they will now be a defender short when they face off against rivals Barcelona in their next league encounter on January 8 at the Civitas Metropolitano.
Hermoso has not been a regular for Simeone this season and has, in fact, made just four appearances in La Liga in 2022/23. So, his absence is unlikely to affect the Rojiblancos a great deal, with Reinildo Mandava the favourite to step into the lineup.
Prior to that, however, Simeone & co. will have a Copa del Rey assignment to take care of as they face Oviedo in the Round of 32 of the competition on January 4, away from home.
Ancelotti talks Courtois, Militao, Bellingham, VAR controversies ahead of Las Palmas vs Real Madrid
Coming off a highly controversial game against Almeria, Real Madrid will now travel to Gran Canaria to take on Las Palmas tomorrow as part of the early kick-off.
Carlo Ancelotti spoke about the clash tomorrow, starting off by confirming his goalkeeper for tomorrow, “Lunin will start tomorrow.”
He also added that Madrid were looking to get back to their usual level after back-to-back poor performances, one of which included elimination against Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey round of 16.
“We are motivated to return to our best level after 2 bad games.”
The Italian gaffer also commented on the biggest football story in the world today, which was Jurgen Klopp announcing his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season.
“It’s quite surprising, I understand. Working for a long time with the same club and players lowers your motivation a bit. He’s doing a fantastic job at Liverpool.”
And of course, Ancelotti also spoke about the leaked VAR audiovisual, some of which are highly controversial for all parties involved. Barcelona coach and players have also commented on the same, in light of the Negreira case.
“They have talked a lot. Everyone knows what has happened in the last 20 years in Spanish football. The Civil Guard is carrying out an investigations. That is the real problem of Spanish football.”
Luckily for the manager and fans, all injured players — minus the ACL trio of David Alaba, Eder Militao, and Thibaut Courtois — are available. Jude Bellingham is suspended, however.
“Everyone is available now after the recent period of injuries.”
“Making up for Bellingham’s absence tomorrow? Brahim and Joselu are available options. They were able to show themselves after I relied on them as substitutes,” he added.
And as far as Militao and Courtois are concerned, both of whom tore their ACL early in the season, Ancelotti suggested that they could make their return before the season ends.
“Courtois and Militão both have the option to play this season. The recovery process is going very well, they are training on an individual level. It is February and these types of injuries last 6-8 months, so I think they will recover before the end of the season.”
Source: Mundo Deportivo