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It begins to be habitual. Minute 55, look back at Cholo and three men who tear off their tracksuit at the same time with a mission: to change the game. And Atleti needed it this afternoon in which the slates screeched in the Metropolitan against Athletic de Marcelino. Until then the Basque defense had extinguished all rival imagination. Griezmann, Lodi and a lame Kondogbia were leaving. Those in the tracksuit were two who had rested from the beginning (Suárez and Carrasco) and a newcomer in the season (Herrera). It was of little use. Because beyond a stick from Llorente, the only thing Cholo did was lose men. The Lemar, Koke, Kondogbia, was joined by another injured, Trippier, and one who was not, João, with red. But it is that this party was arbitrated by Gil Manzano and it is already known: Simeone must first pray.

And that Atlético had dawned in the game like someone who turns on the light in a dark room. The clock had not reached the first minute that Llorente broke his back to the side to win the baseline, raise his head and look for Griezmann. The Frenchman's punch went out but he already started applause from the stands. It's something. He needs it more than the goal. On the next play Correa got caught up in dribbling against Unai Simón. This was one of those games of life without Koke, so difficult, injured against Porto. And also without those Suárez or Carrasco from the beginning, with a midfield with muscle, periscope and depth. That is, with Kondogbia, De Paul and Llorente.

It took Marcelino ten minutes to turn off the blazing light with which the Cholo men had started. He had jumped with the ambition to push very high but the Trippier-Llorente connection had thwarted that plan in the first race. In his eleven, the same. Without Sancet, Yuri and Yeray is the gala and what works is not touched. That he does not lose and it is for something, a man, Lekue. At the top, that 22, Raúl García, who was a Cholo soldier, unforgettable 8. It does not matter that his rojiblanco is already another. It will always be yours, from that stand that, as soon as it appeared, broke into applause as they will never do with the 8 now.

Marcelino adjusted his pieces. He sent Iñigo and Vivian to close spaces and quench the spark with which the Atletico was lit: the diagonals towards the bands, that blessed couple, Llorente-Trippier. It was a game of defenses, where the forwards did not know how to explode the slates, the chessboard. As the minutes went by, Atleti was melting, which could not find lines inside. Lodi was terrified of climbing too high and leaving her back too bare. Griezmann was still an island, surrounded by water, far from everyone, without physicality or imagination. Correa always had a dribble left over. As much as De Paul tried to put confetti in each opening, the most interesting thing was that party within the party: the Savic-Raúl García war.

The dawn of the second part reminded that of the first. The Atleti in tornado on Unai Simón. Correa would try this time upside down while the scream of u-ru-gua-yo filled the air: Luis Suárez came out to warm up. This crowd was so eager to see him in person that no matter what he does, everything is celebrated. Williams tried to silence him in a counter. It ran as if it cost 200 million, defined as if it was worth none, horrible. It was just afterwards that Cholo turned around, looking for those three men in tracksuits, Suárez, Carrasco and Herrera. Immediately another was added, João. Marcelino replied. Raúl García came out, the little one from the Williamses entered. Another match started. With Athletic one step closer to Unai Simón and Atlético with more impetus. That one that Suárez still lacks, without a physique. One against it was evidenced: when he stood hand in hand in front of Unai Simón he preferred to look for Carrasco than to run another meter. The counter blurred. He runs in lead boots, without oxygen, with his 34 years weighing on his lungs.

Trippier left, also lame when the referee broke into the game. Because if the thing about the three changes of the Cholo is being habitual lately, Gil Manzano's performance also sounded classic. Costa's nighttime revival at the Camp Nou … To fill a hitherto noble battle with screams, mud, uncontrolled decibels. He sent off João Félix with a double yellow because he saw the hand behind the Portuguese but not the foul, very clear, that they had done before. He saw that and also the answer, puerile, making the gesture of the madman, from the entrails of the '7', which led him to the shower. Gil Manzano had fired. Yellow, yellow, red. In the final minutes Llorente would send a ball to the post and Villalibre a counter to the clouds. Equality would not go off the scoreboard. The game would end and everything would remain the same. Even the referee who, beyond 96 ', kept putting his hand in his pocket. Giménez, his chosen one. The fifteenth sanctioned. The third tie followed by the champion, second in the League. From unocerismo has passed to cerocerismo.

Changes

Hector Herrera (54 ', Kondogbia), Luis Suarez (54 ', Griezmann), Carrasco (54 ', Renan Augusto), João Felix (59 ', Correa), Nicholas williams (62 ', Raúl García), Villalibre (62 ', Williams), Matheus Cunha (76 ', Trippier), Vesga (79 ', Unai Winner), Jon morcillo (80 ', Muniain), Oier Zarraga (86 ', Dani García)

Cards

Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano
VAR Referee: Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva
Dani Garcia (29 ', Yellow) Kondogbia (35 ', Yellow) João Felix (77 ', Yellow) João Felix (77 ', Red) Savic (78 ', Yellow) Nicholas williams (81 ', Yellow) Matheus Cunha (89 ', Yellow) Gimenez (96 ', Yellow