Atletico Madrid have suffered a severe injury blow with Diego Costa ruled out of their Champions League group stage opener against Bayern Munich after being forced off with a muscle strain in Saturday’s win over Celta Vigo.
Diego Simeone’s men returned to winning ways thanks to goals from Luis Suarez and Yannick Carrasco, but the gloss was taken off the win when Costa had to go off injured.
The Spaniard is likely to miss his team’s next six games, meaning Simeone will have to manage without him for their tricky test against last season’s Champions League winners on Wednesday night.
Costa is also expected to miss games against Real Betis, Osasuna and Real Madrid’s conquerors Cadiz as well as further Champions League matches with Red Bull Salzburg and Lokomotiv Moscow – though could return just in time for a crunch clash with Barcelona.
Saturday’s match was the first game that Costa had played alongside Suarez since the former Barcelona forward joined the club last month.
Simeone has been keen to experiment with his forward line after recent goalless stalemates and it will now fall on the shoulders of Joao Felix to prove an attacking threat in Costa’s absence.
Despite losing Costa, Atletico will be buoyed by Saturday’s victory – especially with Barcelona and Real Madrid both slipping up.
Simeone’s 200th league win in charge of the team since taking over in December 2011 condemned Celta to their third successive defeat to heap more pressure on under-fire boss Oscar Garcia.
The visitors took an early lead after an intricate move down the left as Costa flicked the ball into Manu Sanchez’s path before the young full-back showed impressive composure to find Suarez, whose close-range effort could not be kept out by Ivan Villar.
Sergio Carreira then almost levelled for the hosts when he hit the post before Jan Oblak got down low to push away Santi Mina’s strike later in the first period.
Thomas Lemar had Villar flapping as his corner came off the crossbar before half-time and Atleti continued to press for a second, with Costa hurting himself after teeing up Suarez for a glorious chance.
Marcos Llorente almost doubled his side’s advantage after coming on for Lemar on 65 minutes when his shot was parried away by Villar, before Joao Felix’s ferocious strike cannoned off the bar late on and fell straight to Carrasco, who guided his header into the back of the net.
What do you think about this song?
We want to hear from you all.
Drop your comments