Liga - Atleti held in Granada stalemate

Sat, 15 Oct 22:52:00 2011

Atletico Madrid were held to a 0-0 draw by promoted Granada at Los Carmenes in a wonderfully open game that saw a succession of chances spurned by both sides.

Falcao - 0

Granada hit the post after just four minutes through Ikechukwu Uche, and had a strong claim for a penalty turned down when the same player was felled in the box, while Atleti had 20 shots without scoring their first away goal of the season.

The result leaves Atleti in eighth place with nine points from seven games, while Granada sit 18th with five points.

The first half was conducted at a frantic pace as chances came freely to both sides, and particularly the hosts, who started the day in the relegation zone.

Granada should have been in front as early as the fourth minute when striker Uche met a fantastic cross from Daniel Benitez and saw his header strike the base of the post.

Benitez was a threat with his dangerous delivery from wide positions, while Atleti were almost caught out again in the air after 13 minutes when Inigo Lopez met a free-kick from the right with a firm header that flew just past the post.

Still the openings kept coming and on 21 minutes Granada keeper Roberto launched a counter-attack when thumping a clearance downfield to Benitez. He found himself in so much space and took his shot early as he curled the ball towards the far corner, only to see it slide wide.

Granada, promoted last season, had Atleti under siege but in a wonderfully open contest the more illustrious visitors responded as Gabi saw a shot saved by Roberto after the ball was cut back to the midfielder. Roberto then surpassed himself with a wonderful reflex save to deny Jose Antonio Reyes after the former Real Madrid forward picked up a cute pass from Diego and arrowed a fine shot towards the bottom corner.

Atleti always looked capable of being torn apart though and with ten minutes remaining of the half they pushed their luck. First Uche was seemingly knocked to ground just inside the box by a combination of Miranda and Tiago, before Guillherme Siqueira then picked up the loose ball and was denied by a stunning block from Luis Filipe.

Granada had only scored two goals prior to this game - the joint lowest tally across Europe's top five leagues - but continued to look dangerous in the second half with Benitez seeing an effort blocked and Abel smashing a volley wide of the post.

Atleti dominated possession but were struggling to create clear-cut chances. On 66 minutes they could have scored from an unconventional route as Diego controlled a pass from Reyes with his chest and executed an overhead kick in one swift movement. Famous goals from fellow Brazilians Rivaldo and Ronaldinho on Spanish soil briefly flickered in the memory but Diego's effort flew off target.

Granada continued to press though and should have gone in front after 72 minutes when Uche spun cleverly on the edge of the box, drove in from a tight angle and saw his shot saved by Thibaut Courtois. Atleti then responded when Adrian Lopez fired a shot into the side netting.

Reyes enjoyed a flurry of chances in the final ten minutes as the game came to a fittingly dramatic conclusion, but remarkably neither side could find a winner.

Tom Adams (on Twitter @tomEurosport) / Eurosport

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