The best laid plans, well, they tend to work out more often than not, right? Is that how that saying goes? Well, either way, Radamel Falcao threw a tiny little monkey wrench into Marcelo Bielsa's plans Wednesday night, securing a much-needed win for the colchoneros against Athletic Bilbao. The flowing-haired striker bested his golden-haired god counterpart, Fernando Llorente, who couldn't find the back of the net against an Atletico Madrid defense that has been rocky at best this season.
Atleti dominated this match from start to finish in the Vicente Calderón, as Bielsa's seemingly-exhausted Bilbao squad just didn't seem to want to play tonight: they had played in three matches in the past week and a half, and seemed completely sapped. (But, come on, Atleti has also played in that many matches, so there).
This match really only got going in the second half, as Atleti seemed to just realize how important a win would be to their European chances this season: they pushed up the pitch with all the force of an upper-table Liga side, and found Falcao within five minutes. His first goal, in the 49th minute, wasn't a pretty one, but it counts--Falcao tapped in a deflection off of keeper Gorka's outstretched hands.
Atleti would wrap things up in the 70th minute, when Juanfran escaped down the wing, and served a perfect ball to Falcao on the second post. The Portuguese striker blasted in an easy header, unimpeded, and Athletic would not have time to react. Los colchoneros would continue to dominate the ball until the last five minutes of the match, when Athletic finally decided to show up, with a goal in the last seconds. Javi Martínez, the young Spanish midfielder, found the back of the net with a blasted shot from his right foot in the area.
Overall, a fun match to half-watch (I was following Valencia's epic loss to Zaragoza as well). It's nice to see Atleti coming on strong after their initially terrible start to the season, though Bielsa's Athletic seem to be disappointing in Spain, while they make the world fall in love with their play in the Europa League.