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Iñako Díaz-Guerra | 22/12/2012
There are good years and bad years, but one can scarcely dream of enjoying a perfect year. However, guided by Diego Simeone and Radamel Falcao, Atlético Madrid have had just this. Two trophies, second in the league at Christmas and an astonishing transformation from butt-of-all-jokes to top side in 12 months.
They ended 2012 with a win picked up against a Celta Vigo side which defended resolutely until Adrián did what Adrián does, and settled the match with a terrific goal. It was the perfect moment for the forward to come alive. The perfect moment in which to remember what it was that had made him so good last season.
In the first half, Atlético took the game to the Galicians, exerting pressure, each playing their role well - except for Falcao, marked out of the game by the Celta defenders Andrés Túñez and Gustavo Cabral.
The first wave of home attacks was led by Arda Turan, who passed up three opportunities between the 10th and 12th minutes. Having miraculously survived, Celta dusted themselves down and regained their composure. Yet 'los celestes' could not muster an opportunity with which to test Thibaut Courtois in the Atlético goal. Iago Aspas, isolated against Miranda and Diego Godin, offered little.
Although Diego Costa came close to opening the scoring, the half-time whistle was met with a certain solemnity. What's more, the visitors came out for the second half visibly fired up, setting up camp in the home side's half. They did not create any danger, but they did give Simeone's men some cause for concern. So, the Argentine coach opted to bring on Cebolla, who tends to act as a shot of adrenaline to the heart. And it worked once again.
With the entrance of the Uruguayan, 'los colchoneros' regained their intensity. And shortly after, he was joined by Adrián. He it is who has the ability to unclog those stodgy, scrappy affairs, to come up with a moment of unorthodox invention precisely when the orthodox is producing little result. His left-footed strike in the 77th minute handed Atlético a victory that could not be avoided by a late Celta rally, or the sending-off of Miranda late on. The Brazilian defender will now miss the next match, alongside Arda and Falcao. But that can be left for 2013, and the new year. 2012 ended yesterday, and it was a magical year for Atleti.