Atletico turn into the Primera Liga's entertainers

November 26, 2007

MADRID, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid's third consecutive seven-goal home game on Sunday has had Spanish media labelling them as the Primera Liga's entertainers.

Atletico, who had led 1-0, came back from 2-1 and 3-2 down to grab a dramatic last-minute winner against promoted Valladolid. By then they were down to 10 men and needed visiting defender Pedro Lopez to head the ball into his own net.

Their fans have witnessed 21 goals in their last three league games at the Calderon after a 4-3 win over Sevilla and a 4-3 defeat by Villarreal.

Sports daily Marca said 'The Calderon can seriously damage your health' adding references to games of Russian roulette, while AS preferred to compare their home matches to a trip to the circus.

All circuses have clowns and Atletico's defence would appear to fit the bill having conceded 10 in those three games.

Luckily the forwards Sergio Aguero, Diego Forlan and Maxi Rodriguez, are proving more or less reliable safety nets for their highwire act. They have helped the side to a league best 22 goals in seven home games.

Atletico coach Javier Aguirre turned to one of them, Forlan, to rescue the game at 3-3 on Sunday, sacrificing a centre back and leaving a midfielder to cover in the defence until a full back was sent off to leave them in tactical disarray.

'Atletico, from a position of absolute anarchy, have managed to turn every game into an event, into an exchange of blows without reason or explanation. Into nonsense, marvellous nonsense,' Monday's El Pais said.

Former Mexico coach Aguirre said: 'It was a mad game. We had to show guts and this time fortune smiled on us.

'These results aren't normal but while we continue to pick up points we can stay in touch with the leaders and the fans appreciate it,' Aguirre added. 'We'll need to start giving them heart scans.'

Atletico, who are fifth in the standings, play Aberdeen at home in the UEFA Cup on Thursday.