MADRID (AP) – Another setback, another round of kisses for Atlético Madrid.
Atletico fans seem to be running out of patience with Diego Simeone’s team and expressed their displeasure after Sunday’s 1-1 home draw against 10th-placed Espanyol in the Spanish league, which left Atletico futile. The streak extended to four games in all competitions.
Joao Felix came off the bench to salvage the tie with a 78th-minute equalizer after the visitors opened the scoring through Sergi Darder in the 62nd. Espanyol played a man down in the 28th after defender Leandro Cabrera was sent off with a straight red card for a foul on Atletico forward Alvaro Morata.
Atlético pressed until the end but couldn’t capitalize on their chances, prompting many fans at the Metropolitano Stadium to jeer after the final whistle.
“The reaction of the fans is understandable, nobody is happy,” said Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak. “Until we start doing better on the field again, things won’t get better.”
The match came after Atlético lost at Porto in the Champions League to finish last in their group and miss out on the Europa League playoffs for the first time. It was only the second time in 10 seasons that Simon’s side failed to progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Atletico suffered defeat to relegation-threatened Cadiz in the previous round of the Spanish league, and drew at home to Bayern Leverkusen to crash out of the Champions League by missing the group stage.
“We tried everything to get a win but now nothing is going our way. We are disappointed, we deserved more than a draw,” Oblak said. “It’s clear that psychologically we’re not in a good place. It’s not normal what we’re going through, but when you’re not good psychologically, the body doesn’t work the way it should. .
A draw with Espanyol left Atletico 10 points behind league leaders Barcelona – who beat Almeria 2-0 at home on Saturday – and eight points behind Real Madrid who visit Rio de Janeiro on Monday.
Atletico could drop out of third place depending on the outcome of the Sevilla derby between fourth-placed Real Betis and Sevilla later on Sunday. Betis is one point behind Atletico.
“At some point, and hopefully soon, we will turn things around and start winning again,” Atletico defender Jose Maria Gimenez said.
Espanyol remain in 16th place, one point clear of the relegation zone. It is winless in four consecutive league matches.