Real Valladolid 0-0 Atletico Madrid: Simeone's men becoming stalemate specialists

Atletico Madrid, held 0-0 by Real Valladolid, has now drawn three of its last four La Liga matches by the same scoreline.

Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa.   -  Getty Images

Atletico Madrid's stuttering season continued as it was held to a third goalless draw in four La Liga matches by Real Valladolid, which remains unbeaten at home in La Liga this season.

Diego Simeone's men were let off the hook when Sandro Ramirez ballooned a penalty over the crossbar in the first half at Estadio Jose Zorrilla but failed to impose their authority in a game they were expected to win.

Atletico went into the match with a record of seven goals in seven La Liga matches this season and its attack was turgid again here, with strike partners Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata receiving scant service.

Valladolid had lost all of its previous eight league matches against Atletico but held firm to claim a valuable point in its push for the top half of the table.

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Sandro Ramirez fired a warning shot into Jan Oblak's body as Valladolid tried to unsettle the visitor but Diego Simeone's men dominated the ball early on and slowed the game down.

 

Chances were few and far between until Thomas Partey tripped Sandro in the box and, after a lengthy VAR review, the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Sandro stepped up in the hope of scoring his first goal for the club but got his penalty all wrong, sending the ball curling high over the crossbar.

Saul Niguez fizzed a shot narrowly wide from 25 yards as Atletico adopted a more direct approach after half-time. Morata got in behind the host's defence and fired a shot that hit goalkeeper Jordi Masip in the face before Valladolid countered and Sandro went close with an effort on the turn.

Kieran Trippier's cross created a chance for Angel Correa with 10 minutes left but the substitute's powerful shot pinged back off the post to the relief of the home crowd, which will have been delighted with a point against one of the title favourites.

 

What does it mean? One win in five for Simeone's men

While it is too early to start ruling Atletico out of the title race, Simeone will be concerned by a lack of cutting edge in attack that has contributed to a run of one win, three draws and one defeat in its last five league games.

It is second in the table but three points behind leader Real Madrid.

Morata more lively

While Costa was largely a bystander, Morata provided Atletico with an outlet and battled through some heavy challenges to keep his side on the front foot.

Sandro's struggle

Three seasons ago, Sandro scored 14 La Liga goals in 30 appearances for Malaga and looked a star in the making. Now, at the age of just 24, he looks a spent force and the way he hung his head after blazing Valladolid's penalty over the crossbar suggested he feels like one, too.

What's next?

Valladolid travels to Athletic Bilbao after the international break, while Atletico Madrid will hope to pick up its first home win since September 1 when it entertains Valencia in 13 days' time.

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