Atletico Madrid were dealt a hard blow in Thursday’s Supercopa de Espana semi-final against Athletic Club, as Los Rojiblancos came into the match in Saudi Arabia with the view that a positive result could act as a springboard and help turn their season around.
Despite not losing any important players in summer and adding Antoine Griezmann, Rodrigo de Paul and Matheus Cunha to their squad, Atletico are very unlikely to retain their LaLiga Santander title as they are already 16 points behind leaders Real Madrid.
In Saudi Arabia, Atletico missed the opportunity to win a morale-boosting trophy and now Diego Simeone‘s side are realistically competing for just two bits of silverware – the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
However, after the devastating 2-1 defeat to Athletic, Atletico will have to quickly respond as they take on Real Sociedad in a one-legged tie in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey, which will take place at the Reale Arena next Wednesday.
The defeat to Athletic was Atleti‘s ninth loss so far this season and the second time in a few weeks they have gone 1-0 up before losing the match 2-1, as Los Rojiblancos also took the lead away at Granada, who managed to turn the game around and snatch all three points.
As both Simeone and Jan Oblak acknowledged, Atletico lost the game against the Basques due to their vulnerability from set pieces, as both of Athletic‘s goals came from corners.