Álvaro Morata may have changed his scenery but he still can’t quite catch a break. In his first game for his new (old) team last weekend, Atléti lost for the first time in 19 games. In his second game, Atléti lost back-to-back games for the first time in over two years. That’s a rather inauspicious start for the prodigal son returning to his childhood club, even if obviously not all of that is within his control.
If there are any doubts as to where Morata’s loyalties lie, his no holds barred celebration yesterday should make it pretty clear. Unfortunately his goal for his first club against his old club Real Madrid — that’s Thibaut Courtois in goal, to add more complicated loyalties to the equation — was ruled out by what must’ve been inches, at most.
It was just one of several close and contentious calls in Real’s 3-1 derby win at the Wanda Metropolitano — even Atléti’s official Twitter had to say something — with Morata himself later denied a penalty on VAR for handball in a “horrendously unlucky” performance.
Diego Simeone played down the impact of those incidents and VAR’s decisions afterwards, but they dominated the post-match conversation regardless.
The game was also notable for Thibaut Courtois getting his promised shower of rats from the home fans.
@Atleti fans did not give Thibaut Courtois a welcome return today:— SPORF (@Sporf) February 9, 2019
They vandalised his plaque outside the stadium before kick off...
... then threw toy rats at him whilst he was taking goal kicks for @RealMadrid
A fierce rivalry in Madrid. pic.twitter.com/ZSr3MVguuP
Elsewhere in loanee striker action, Batshuayi’s Crystal Palace disappointed with a 1-1 draw against West Ham United while Tammy Abraham got back on the scoreboard as Aston Villa staged a rousing comeback from three goals down to draw 3-3 against Sheffield United. It was Abraham’s 20th goal of the season.