The blessing of having a striker like Luis Suarez is that he knows how to get out of a pressure situation in style. Suarez, one of the best strikers in the history of football, proved his worth yet again in the tight game against Getafe where the La Liga holders bagged full points.

It hasn’t exactly been the flying start envisioned by Diego Simeone’s side, with Atletico Madrid held to draws with Villarreal and Athletic Club. The scenario was not good against Getafe last night until Suarez stepped up for the rescue act.

Joao Felix’s red card last time out for the visitors meant that there had been a reshuffle of the pack – but any side that can bring Luis Suarez in to start upfront is to be feared. The hosts made a double swap up front after their loss to Rayo Vallecano – Jaime Mata and Jose Macias both get the nod.

The first half saw Atleti once again start slow, as has been the case in the last few matches, and their best chance in the opening 45 minutes came the way of Suarez. Djene Dakonam’s wayward header in the 36th minute ended up giving Suarez the chance to volley at David Soria’s goal from close range, but the Getafe goalkeeper saved it well. The ball then fell to Angel Correa, yet his effort was deflected behind for a corner.

Getafe were able to reward the support from the crowd at the Coliseum with a goal just before halftime, as they found a way past Atletico for the first time in almost 10 years, with their last goal against Los Rojiblancos coming on November 6, 2011. Jan Oblak made an uncharacteristic mistake by spilling a deep cross that was then only half-cleared by Jose Maria Gimenez and recycled by Getafe, with Djene picking out Nemanja Maksimovic, who crossed the ball in for centre-back Stefan Mitrovic to head onto the left post before it brushed Oblak’s hand and went in.

It was increasingly looking like it was going to be another frustrating match for Atleti, following their 0-0 draw against Athletic Club last weekend, but the game swung when Alena was shown a straight red card in the 73rd minute for a really bad tackle on Cunha, following a VAR review and a check on the pitchside monitor by referee Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez.

Five minutes later, Atleti were level, much to the relief of Diego Simeone. Mario Hermoso’s cross from deep was floated into the box and Suarez then controlled the ball excellently with his right foot before sending a left-footed effort past Soria.

Getafe were simply trying to cling on for a draw from that point on, having lost all five of their matches coming into this one, but Suarez was once again on hand to crush any hopes that they had.

In the 90th minute, Sime Vrsaljko’s lofted cross from the right was misjudged by Mitrovic, and Suarez was there at the back post to head into the corner of Soria’s goal to give Atleti a 2-1 lead on the night, a result they held on to as they go top of LaLiga Santander, albeit having played one more game than the other teams around them.

This was in no way a vintage performance by Atleti, but, just as they did against Espanyol nine days ago, they showed a fight and a determination that is so often seen in title-winning teams. And with Suarez in their ranks, they have a player that can appear at any time.

When everything indicated that Atletico would drop points against Michel Gonzalez’s side, Diego Simeone shuffled the deck, replaced an unconvincing Antoine Griezmann and changed Atletico’s formation.

Having learned his lesson following Suarez’s last-minute deciders last season, Simeone freshened up his team but opted against replacing the 34-year-old, who was struggling to find space to threaten in the final third.

“Anyone else would have replaced Suarez,” admitted Simeone after Atletico’s hard fought 2-1 victory.

“And Suarez scored the goals.”

“We already know what Luis is,” teammate Mario Hermoso stressed after the Getafe match.

“He has shown it in his career, he lives in the area. He is and will continue being one of the best [strikers] in the world that is not lost. As long as he is in the area, he is a dangerous player.”

Despite not having the freshness, pace or agility he used to possess a few years ago, Suarez is still a world-class striker and one who bounces back from criticism thanks to his incredible work rate.

“I think you have to be used to living with criticism,” noted Suarez.

“When you are in the elite you get used to it. What I do is never lower my arms, as you will realize. I am not going to sink due to some criticism and I’m not going to believe I’m the best in the world with flattery either.”


“My way of being is like that: working. Sometimes things go well, sometimes they don’t go the way you want, but [I am] enjoying this moment.”

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