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Dublin: -2°C Sunday 11 April 2021

Diego Simeone in hot water after bizarre sending off against Malaga

The Atletico Madrid boss was given his marching orders after a ball was thrown on to the field while Malaga were attacking.

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone.
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone.
Image: Francisco Seco

ATLETICO MADRID BOSS Diego Simeone could be facing a lengthy ban following his dismissal during a 1-0 victory against Málaga today.

Simeone’s side preserved their title hopes by claiming the three points, thanks to Angel Correra’s second-half strike, as they matched Real Madrid’s result against Rayo Vallecano earlier in the day.

The victory returned Atleti to the top of the table although Barcelona later regained top spot with a convincing 6-0 win against Sporting Gijon.

But Atleti’s win was marred by the Argentinian manager’s sending off. Simeone’s men had struggled to impose themselves on the fixture and home frustrations showed when an extra ball appeared to be thrown from the Atleti bench on to the pitch in the closing stages of the first half.

It seemed the ball was thrown with the intention of checking the momentum of the advancing Ricardo Horta, who was darting down the left wing with the hosts outnumbered.

Simeone was sent to the stands after a stern talking to from referee Antonio Mateu, and Atleti could yet find themselves in further trouble over the incident.

Source: Soocer HD/YouTube

Earlier, Duje Cop forced Jan Oblak into a diving save as Malaga had the first real sight of goal after 13 minutes, before Antoine Griezmann squandered a golden opportunity to put Atleti in front.

Koke delivered a low ball into the box from the left wing but, after Fernando Torres had dummied the cross, an unmarked Griezmann fired wide of the right-hand post from close range.

A Koke free-kick from distance then forced a back-pedalling Guillermo Ochoa to tip over his crossbar, although Charles’ headed effort – comfortably saved by Oblak – served as a reminder of Malaga’s threat on the counter-attack.

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Simeone had been forced into making changes to his backline thanks to Diego Godin’s hamstring injury, picked up in the midweek win over Athletic Bilbao, and the Argentine opted to partner Lucas Hernandez with the returning Jose Gimenez at centre-back.

The pair had relatively little to do as the half progressed, but for all of their possession, Atleti struggled to truly test Ochoa in the Malaga goal. The Mexico international proved equal to a Carrasco strike from distance in the closing minutes of the first half — an effort that left the Belgian limping from the field, although he recovered to rejoin the action soon after.

With Simeone having taken his seat in the stand, Saul Niguez volleyed wide early in the second period, before Torres had a penalty appeal turned down after going down softly under the challenge of namesake Miguel.

Horta sent a free-kick whistling over the crossbar following a nasty collision between Gimenez and Ignacio Camacho, who was left with a bloodied ankle in the incident.

Source: Footy live/YouTube

The breakthrough finally arrived in the 62nd minute, when Correa drifted in from the left and his shot from outside the box deflected off a defender and beyond the sprawling Ochoa.

The lively Correa saw another effort fizz wide of the target as Atleti pushed for a second, but the new league leaders had to settle for a one-goal margin, with Oblak preventing a late equaliser when Recio sent a fierce low drive goalwards.

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