Atletico Madrid's struggles in the league continued as they were held to yet another draw - courtesy of a late wonder strike from Lucas Perez.
It isn't an exaggeration to say that the first half was one of the worst halves of football of the season, with absolutely nothing to talk about. If anything, Alaves looked the team slightly more likely to score, but no opportunity was created. None whatsoever.
Ok, I have enough of this Alaves-Atletico match. I lasted 15 minutes. Fucking 15 minutes of this shit.— Rafał (@madridreigns) October 29, 2019
Thomas Partey was bought off the bench for the second half, and Atletico seemed to improve dramatically with his introduction. Chances came and went, with Renan Lodi having the best opportunity when in front of goal, but he side-footed wide.
Atleti continued to pile the pressure on the Alaves goal, and substitute Alvaro Morata finally broke the deadlock as he calmly stroked the ball home following a good pass from Angel Correa with 20 minutes left.
Diego Simeone's men looked to be in control and close to a win, but out of the blue, former Arsenal and West Ham man Lucas Perez struck an absolutely stunning goal from range into the top corner with just seven minutes remaining - resulting in wild celebrations around the stadium.
Atletico were held to a fifth draw of their league campaign as a result.
Starting XI: Pacheco (7); Aguirregabiria (6), Laguardia (6), Magallan (6), Duarte (6); Vidal (6), Garcia (6), Mubarak (6), Rioja (6); Joselu (5), Perez (7*)
Subs: Pina (6), Pons (6), Burke (6)
Key Talking Points
Make no mistake, this was a crucial game for Simeone's men. Despite an iffy start to the season, Atleti somehow found themselves just one point off top spot. A win here would have got them to the summit of La Liga.
Starting XI: Oblak (6); Arias (6), Felipe (6), Hermoso (6), Lodi (5); Saul (6), Herrera (6) Llorente (5), Lemar (5); Costa (5), Correa (6)
Subs: Partey (8*), Morata (7), Koke (6)
Atletico were utterly woeful in the first half, but the introduction of Partey at the start of the second completely changed the game. The midfielder was fantastic, driving from deep and consistently playing balls into dangerous areas. He orchestrated almost everything from an Atleti point of view.
He has performed brilliantly this campaign, and has undoubtedly been the club's player of the season so far. If they want to be successful from this point on, they will need him to keep fit and continue playing in this manner.
Thomas Partey is playing like the best pivot in the world. The effect he has on this Atletico team is out of this world. Sensational player.— EiF (@EiFSoccer) October 29, 2019
Thomas Partey is actually the best CM in the world.— Joaquin Delmar (@joaquin_delmar) October 29, 2019
City got the wrong Atletico midfielder.
Thomas Partey legit dribbled four players while barely leaving a spot.— Deji Faremi (@deejayfaremi) October 29, 2019
Alaves now head to Osasuna before they return back home for another league game against Real Valladolid.
Atletico have two tough tests to come as they head to the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium to face Sevilla - in what is now a massive game - which is then followed by a Champions League group game away to Bayer Leverkusen four days later.