Rodrigo de Paul is already a leader in Atlético de Madrid, enlightened and relaunched by football, the personality and ambition of the Argentine international, on which he built an incontestable victory against Real Betis (3-0), defeated by goals by Yannick Carrasco, Joao Félix and Pezzella’s own goal, surpassed from start to finish and with no other response than Claudio Bravo against the determination of the rojiblanco team.
An expected and conclusive reaction from Diego Simeone’s block, who lived through the sanctioned game, from the box with the same tension -or more- than on the bench, aware of the importance of a game that De Paul took over, acclaimed when it was substituted on the verge of the end, and that reinforces Atlético, forceful in its response to the triumphs this day of Real Madrid and Seville, to the same extent that it stops Betis, it rotates its streak of three consecutive wins.
In the past, for years and years, Atlético longed for a prototype midfielder. A footballer capable of changing the rhythm with a turn, with a stride, with a dribble, with a change of game, with a movement… He already has it: Rodrigo de Paul. Once the indispensable stretch of adaptation has been overcome, his football makes Atlético better. Undoubtedly. He needed it, no matter how much the last League was the champion, to further launch its resources and solutions, to show even more splendor.
The dimension of the Argentine international had not yet been seen at Atlético. At least not all. Some detail, a few passes, some assistance, his undoubted class to play and, above all, for others to play … But not with the perseverance with which he displayed all his qualities against Betis, whose midfielders felt that there was more than one From Paul on the grass.
Because he appeared on almost all sides, in defense and in attack, because he understood like no one else what space to occupy at all times, when he had to recover, when a teammate needed cover or where he had to propose the exit or the transition to more offensive adventures , but also because his ambition, his overflow, his passing, his driving and his precision overwhelmed his adversary.
He was the original leader -then more were added- of Atlético’s great first half, which overcame the pressure of Betis and that, even without Joao Félix -substitute, perhaps looking at Liverpool- counted an unusual number of occasions this season: a Giménez’s header, a shot by Griezmann, a shot by Correa, two shots by De Paul, another stop by Claudio Bravo to the French attacker, quick combinations … And Carrasco’s goal, in the 26th minute, claimed with his best dexterity, with that dribble and that explosive kick with which he scored 1-0.
The Belgian winger faced Martín Montoya, whom he passed with a cut with his right to launch a powerful cornering left-footed shot to beat Claudio Bravo, to determine on the scoreboard what had undoubtedly determined the game, even greatly It extends from 1-0 to intermission, and to convey to Betis with total clarity that it needed more tension, more intensity and more daring to avoid the defeat at the Wanda Metropolitano, which was even short at the time.
Because Betis threatened 45 seconds. Launched for three consecutive wins in the championship – or five in the last six appointments – he was left in an insubstantial group throughout the first act and most of the game, as William Carvalho tested Jan Oblak before the first minute with a shot from outside of the area. Except for Rodri, who transmitted both courage and quality in each contact with the ball, although he was later changed at halftime, nobody from Verdiblanco expressed hardly anything, first appeased and then overtaken by Atlético, until the break and beyond.
Although Pellegrini’s reaction to the interval, the change of the two extremes (Rodri and Juanmi left, Tello and Aitor Ruibal entered), it was also the brief reaction of Betis, which seemed another ten minutes, reappeared in the area with a volley of Carvalho, much more present in the opposite field, about to achieve 1-1 in a header from Willian José, the match always transmitted that it was yes or yes of Atlético.
Sometimes, for football, for ambition and for conviction, because the VAR invalidated the 2-0 of Hermoso when the second half took its first steps, because Luis Suárez finished off, because Savic did not manage to head a header that went to the hands by Claudio Bravo, because the Chilean goalkeeper deprived Luis Suárez of the goal …
And because, among so much insistence, Pezzella scored the 2-0 at his own goal that, otherwise, without his intervention, a kind of foreshortening with the neck, probably would have had the same fate because Gimenez waited only to hole with his head The goal. There was still half an hour left, a shower of water and a smooth journey to a remarkable victory for Atlético, enlarged with the 3-0 score by Joao Félix, who joined De Paul’s party with his first goal of this season.
– Data sheet:
3 – Atlético de Madrid: Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Giménez, Hermoso, Carrasco (Lodi, d. 88); De Paul (Matheus Cunha, m. 83), Koke; Correa (Herrera, m. 83), Griezmann; Luis Suárez (Joao Félix, m. 71).
0 – Real Betis: Claudio Bravo; Montoya, Pezella, Édgar, Álex Moreno; Guarded (Rober, m. 77), William Carvalho (Guido Rodríguez, m. 65); Rodri (Aitor Ruibal, m. 46), Canales, Juanmi (Tello, m. 46); Willian José (Borja Iglesias, d. 77).
Goals: 1-0, m. 26: Carrasco. 2-0, m. 62: Pezzella, own goal. 3-0, m. 79: Joao Felix.
Referee: Alberola Rojas (C. Castellano-manchego).
Incidents: match corresponding to the twelfth day of LaLiga Santander, played at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium before 56,838 spectators. EFE (HN)