MADRID: Atletico Madrid’s stumbling start in La Liga took a turn for the worse on Saturday as a late equaliser from Borja Garces was only enough to rescue a 1-1 draw at home to Eibar.
Eibar appeared to have snatched a shock victory when Sergi Enrich finished in the 87th minute, only for Borja to salvage Atletico a point with virtually the last kick of the game. But there were no celebrations at the final whistle. Atletico were considered serious title challengers this season but another two points dropped means they have now taken only five from their first four games.
Real Madrid and Barcelona, who both play later on Saturday, could be seven points clear by the end of the day. Atleti created enough chances. They had 18 shots in total, but Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa were both wasteful and as the game wore on, Eibar’s confidence grew.
Simeone put on a brave face after the match. “I would worry if we had not created those chances to score,” he said. “The team also showed a reaction after their goal. We continued to push forward and managed to take a point.”
He might have liked to keep one eye on their Champions League opener against Monaco on Tuesday, with this year’s competition holding extra kudos for the club, given the final will be held here at the Wanda Metropolitano next June. But a victory here was much-needed and, despite a strong line-up that included summer signings Thomas Lemar and Rodrigo, Atleti have now recorded their worst league start since 2009.