‘Gabi and 10 Ghosts’: Atletico face Euro crisis

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 Nov 2017 10:16:58



ATLETICO Madrid, despite twice coming within inches of Champions League glory in the last four years, have experienced an emphatic fall from grace this season and are on the brink of a humiliating exit from the group stage.
While in past years Diego Simeone’s side out-muscled continental heavy weights such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus, this campaign they have been unable to beat Azerbaijan’s little-known Qarabag in two attempts.

On Tuesday the 55,000 fans packed into the shiny new Wanda Metropolitano stadium groaned with frustration as Atletico wasted chance after chance to grab a winning goal against the Azerbaijani side, even after the visitors had forward Pedro Henrique sent off with half an hour remaining.
The 1-1 draw in Madrid came two weeks after a goalless stalemate in Baku in which Atletico also had the advantage of an extra man in the second half.

They are without a win in four games in Champions League Group C and their future in the competition is out of their own hands.

“It’ll take more than a miracle”, said the front cover of newspaper Marca, picturing a despondent Antoine Griezmann covering his face in his hands, while daily AS declared: “Atletico look towards the Europa League.”
Atletico’s wobbly form this season has not been limited to Europe’s elite competition and they have only won one of their last eight games, conceding far more goals than they used to and appear to be suffering from anxiety when it comes to scoring.

“This team’s identity is based on conceding very few goals and scoring from the few chances we create.
“Now things have changed, we concede more goals and no matter how many chances we create we can’t seem to score,” said captain Gabi.

The veteran midfielder was one of few players to escape from criticism after the miserable draw with Qarabag on Halloween night, which Marca described as “Gabi and 10 Ghosts”. Atletico’s shaky backline is the most remarkable aspect of their decline.