Out with Luis Suárez . At minute 59, Atlético lost 2-0 to Chelsea on aggregate in an indecipherable tie for the Madrid team. Out with Suarez. It is announced by the poster for the fourth official at Stamford Bridge while Simeone, who has given the order to replace the Uruguayan by Correa, remains impassive in the band as if contemplating a distant landscape. Suárez notices the news, shakes his head, and smiles showing two rows of sharp teeth. He is in midfield and time is short, but he takes his pause to leave the field.
He walks with his chest out, without closing his mouth, without ceasing to show his teeth in a gesture of frozen disdain. He is furious, but channels his anger towards his bandages: slowly, energetically, as he walks, he unwinds the red ribbon that compresses the tendons of his hand. He passes by Simeone, his boss, his accomplice until recently, the person responsible for the decision who subtly points out to him as the subsidiary responsible for the elimination. Suárez accumulates almost two hours of sterile fighting with Rüdiger and Zouma in a cross in which, like his teammates, he barely manages to unbalance his markers.
Suárez does not even want to sit between his teammates. He looks for a ladder and makes himself comfortable on the concrete, continuing to remove bandages, boots and protections, like someone repeating a disarmament ritual so as not to express his anger in another way. By withdrawing his most combative reference in the rival area, Simeone has sent an equivocal message. So there is no room for confusion, raise your voice. The order resounds in every nook and cranny, between the banners, in the windows of the boxes and in the tarpaulin-covered stands of the empty stadium: "Don't leave the game!" The Atlético coach wants to clarify to his troops that the fact of having retired Suárez, a sign of rebellion, does not mean surrender. "Don't leave the game!" He repeats. And Suárez, who has not scored a goal or given an assist in the six Champions League duels played this season, continues to remove red bandages while still showing the teeth of his ironic smile.
“We couldn't press them”
“It is normal that the footballer wants to continue playing, "said Simeone after the game. “But we were not fine in attack; and [in the second part] we understood that with Llorente on the right, Saúl on the left, Dembelé, Joao, Correa and Lemar would have other mobility to be able to attack. ”
Simeone remained standing throughout the match, crammed into a grim reaper. black feathers, mournful. Tuchel hardly ever left his chair or his chewing gum. Nervous but satisfied because his team was imposed on the basis of a more coordinated pressure that allowed him to occupy the rival field for a long time and move Atlético, and the ill-fated Suárez, away from the Mendy area in the process. "They pressured us very well," said Koke, on the way to the locker room, after the defeat.
"We tried to pressure them in their exit of the ball with the top four," explained Simeone, evoking his deployment of Llorente, Suárez, Joao Félix and Carrasco in front of the line of three centrals and the Chelsea goalkeeper. "I think they tried to do it with a lot of effort," said the coach. “But few times we were able to steal that ball that generates a dangerous situation near the opposite area. We tried to jump to the pressure with Lodi and Trippier when they broke the pressure of Llorente and Carrasco. We tried. But we could not. They were better and came out of the pressure. ”
“ Cut it! Cut it out! ”
“ In the Premier you play with a higher intensity than in Spain, ”said Azpilicueta, the Chelsea captain, already in the locker room after the game; "We have replicated what we do every weekend to get the ball back."
The semifinal closed in the 33rd minute. Koke took an indirect free kick from the center circle. These set pieces were always revered by Simeone and rightly so given the lack of creativity in his attack. The coach sent Lodi up, to join six other teammates who were waiting for the dispatch in the rival area. Koke handed the ball to Trippier to center, and as the Englishman was about to hang up the pass, Werner intervened, who ran under pressure at full speed . The German cut the trajectory of the ball, which went to give Kanté. Kanté gave it to Havertz, and the seven Atlético players who were waiting for the shot in the area became spectators of the disaster. Havertz sped through midfield with Werner on the left and Ziyech on the right, and the play was a three for three against Trippier, Koke and Savic.
Atlético's salvation gravitated on Trippier for a second. Only the Englishman could interrupt the counterattack in the bud by missing Havertz. "Cut it!" Simeone yelled desperately. "Cut it!". But Havertz took two strides and broke free.
Overcome Trippier, Havertz had it easy. After stealing the ball, Timo Werner had unmarked him with another effort. With two sprints in one, the blond from Stuttgart was sent into space and measured the precise pass between Savic and Oblak. Ziyech finished off one bunt with his bad leg and sent the ball into the net.
“I need coaches to give me a kick,” Werner said Tuesday, when asked how he managed to withstand Tuchel's constant invective from the sideline. "That gives me strength," settled the 25-year-old German, probably the most influential player in a tactical match like few others. Difficult to play for nines . Especially for Suárez.
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