Evening all! Sports Mole
's live La Liga coverage continues from the Spanish capital as second-placed Atletico Madrid
welcome struggling Deportivo La Coruna
. The Wanda Metropolitano stadium hosted Spain's 6-1 win over Argentina on Tuesday night – let's hope for more goals in this one!
Deportivo are without a La Liga victory over Atletico since a 2-1 win in November 2009. Since then, it has been a fixture dominated by the Madrid giants. Indeed, Atletico recorded a 1-0 victory in the reverse match this season, and that was also the scoreline at the Vicente Calderon last term.
When considering that Deportivo have scored just twice in their last five La Liga matches with Atletico, the omens are not exactly great for the visitors in this fixture. Right, let's run through the team news ahead of kickoff in Madrid. Atletico's XI might well give Deportivo encouragement....
ATLETICO: Oblak; Isaac, Savic, Godin, Lucas; Saul, Thomas, Gabi, Koke; Gameiro, Correa
DEPORTIVO: Ruben; Juanfran, Albentosa, Sidnei, Luisinho; Guilherme, Muntari, Mosquera, Colak; Adrian; Perez
The headline team news for Atletico is the inclusion of 19-year-old Carlos Isaac, who makes his first-team debut for the club at right-back due to the absences of Juanfran and Sime Vrsaljko. Diego Costa is only on the bench while Antoine Griezmann misses out through suspension, which sees Kevin Gameiro and Angel Correa start as the front two for the home side tonight.
As for Deportivo, head coach Clarence Seedorf has made two changes to the team that started the 1-1 draw with Las Palmas before the international break. One of those alterations is at left-back as Luisinho replaces Fernando Navarro, while Pedro Mosquera takes the place of Florin Andone as Deportivo switch to a more defensive formation. That said, Lucas Perez and Adrian Lopez both start for the visitors.
So there we have it. The two teams are in, and we are now 15 minutes or so from kickoff at the Wanda Metropolitano. I shall speak about Deportivo a little bit later, but let's start with Atletico. Diego Simeone's side are still second in the table ahead of capital rivals Real Madrid, although they will enter this match off the back of a 2-1 defeat to Villarreal before the international break.
A record of 19 wins, seven draws and three defeats from 29 league matches has brought Atletico 64 points. The title is now gone due to Barcelona's stunning form throughout the campaign, but the Madrid giants will be keen to finish above Real Madrid, who are now just one point behind in third position following their 3-0 victory away to Las Palmas on Saturday night.
Atletico are yet to lose a league game in their new stadium – winning 10 and drawing four of their 14 fixtures on home soil. They have also only conceded four times at the Wanda Metropolitano in Spain's top flight, and are the overwhelming favourites to collect all three points in this match.
It is a big few weeks for Atletico when considering that they will host Sporting Lisbon in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday before visiting Real Madrid in the league on Sunday. Simeone's side will then travel to Sporting for the second leg of their Europa last-eight tie on April 12.
Atletico have had a fine season in the league, but they have lost two of their last three in the top flight. Indeed, they suffered a 1-0 defeat at Barcelona on March 4 before overcoming Celta Vigo and losing to Villarreal in their next two. It is absolutely vital that Simeone's side put three points on the board here to give themselves some breathing space entering the clash with Real Madrid.
As for Deportivo, Seedorf's side are battling desperately to stay in Spain's top flight. The Blues and Whites have finished 16th, 15th and 16th in their last three seasons in La Liga, but currently sit 19th in the table on 20 points, and are eight points from the safety of 17th position after 29 matches.
Deportivo have only won four league matches all season, and three of those have come on their own patch. Indeed, they have won one, drawn three and lost 10 of their 14 on the road, which is worrying ahead of tonight's match. Another defeat would push Seedorf's side further towards the second tier.
Deportivo drew 1-1 with Las Palmas before the international break, and they are actually without a win in the league since beating Leganes on December 9. It has been some fall from grace over the last few months, and it does appear that the club are destined to drop into the Segunda Division. Right, the time for talking is almost over. Kickoff at the Wanda Metropolitano is next!
KICKOFF! Deportivo kick things off in the capital...
... far from a full house inside this wonderful stadium, but there is a good atmosphere, and the Atletico fans will be looking for a strong performance from their team ahead of the Madrid derby.
Atletico have the ball inside the Deportivo box for the first time as Koke delivers a dangerous corner towards Correa, but the ball bounces harmlessly behind for an away goal kick.
Deportivo are struggling to get out of their own half at the moment as Atletico continue to move the ball in the final third of the field. Gameiro breaks into a wide area before delivering a dangerous cross towards the middle of the goal, but Sidnei does really well to make the clearance.
Gameiro has been bright for Atletico in the opening eight minutes, and the Frenchman comes close to meeting a through pass from Thomas, only for Luisinho to make a last-ditch tackle.
Atletico's corner count continues to rise as Deportivo come under increasing pressure. The visitors have defended pretty well in the opening 10 minutes, however. Still all square in Madrid.
CLOSE! Koke just misses the Deportivo goal with a strike from distance!
Again it is Gameiro causing problems as the Frenchman collects a brilliant pass from Koke inside the Deportivo box, but Albentosa is on hand to make another last-ditch challenge.
BOOKING! Luisinho (Deportivo) is booked for poor challenge on Isaac.
Godin rises highest inside the Deportivo box to meet another Koke corner, but the centre-back is adjudged to have fouled Mosquera. Still goalless with 15 minutes on the clock, but it has been an open start to the match, with both teams having their moments in the final third of the field.
Pass, pass, pass from Atletico as they look to work space in the final third, but Deportivo are nice and tight in a defensive area. Seedorf will be pretty pleased with what he has seen thus far.
Gameiro has a shot deflected wide of the post from just outside the Deportivo box.
SAVE! Huge chance for Deportivo as Lucas Perez breaks into the Atletico box, but the striker cannot find a route past Oblak, who makes a really smart save.
SAVE! Ruben is on hand to keep out a powerful strike from Correa.
Still goalless with 23 minutes on the clock, but it is an open game of football in Madrid.
Perez again uses his pace to break behind the Atletico defence, but the on-loan Arsenal forward cannot find a teammate with his cross. Perez has been very bright for the away side tonight.
CHANCE! Another opportunity for the away side as Perez meets a cross from Colak, but Oblak is on hand to make the save. Deportivo are carving out good chances in this match.
Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining, and we are still goalless. Atletico have had more of the ball, but Deportivo have had some very good chances to make the breakthrough.
BOOKING! Isaac (Atletico) is booked for a poor tackle on Muntari.
Another half-chance for the away side as Muntari rises highest inside the Atletico box to meet a free kick from Perez, but the midfielder's header was always too high. Still goalless in Madrid.
Atletico are awarded a penalty as Mosquera tugs Saul's shirt inside the box!
BOOKING! Perez (Deportivo) is booked for dissent.
GOAL! Atletico Madrid 1-0 Deportivo (Gameiro, pen)
Gameiro sends Atletico ahead with a brilliant penalty into the top corner of the net.
It is tough on Deportivo, who have impressed for long spells of the first period. It was a touch soft, but Mosquera did pull Saul's shirt, and that gave the referee a decision to make.
Deportivo have not really had the ball since Atletico made the breakthrough, and you do get the feeling that this could be a long night for the visitors having fallen behind in the capital.
CHANCE! Huge chance for Deportivo to level as Oblak fails to collect a corner from the left and it falls for Mosquera at the far post, but the midfielder misses the target!
It must be said that the first 41 minutes of this football match have flown past; both teams have contributed to what has been an open and indeed entertaining clash in the Spanish capital.
Atletico have the ball inside the Deportivo half as we approach the half-time break.
Just a reminder that Diego Costa is on the bench for Atletico tonight, but Griezmann is suspended for La Liga's second-placed side. Will we see Costa in the second half of action?
HALF-TIME: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Deportivo
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with Atletico leading Deportivo 1-0 courtesy of a 34th-minute penalty from Gameiro, which was conceded when Mosquera pulled Saul's shirt inside the box. Deportivo, however, have had some really good chances here.
STATISTICS! Atletico shaded the first-half possession with 58%, while they managed seven attempts - two of which were on target. Deportivo, however, also managed two attempts on target from seven shots. Three yellows to report - Luisinho (13 min), Isaac (28 min) and Perez (33 min).
BENCH WATCH! Deportivo boss Seedorf has a number of attacking options on his bench tonight, with the likes of Andone, Bakkali and Gil all capable of making a difference in the second half of this match. Atletico, meanwhile, have options in the shape of Diego Costa and Fernando Torres.
RESTART! Atletico resume the action here...
... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise.
Quite a low-key start to the second period, although Atletico are certainly having more of the ball. You do get the feeling that a second for the home side would secure all the points here.
Lucas breaks down the left for Atletico before feeding Saul, but the midfielder cannot find a pass into Correa, who had beaten the offside trap. Deportivo are very deep at the moment here.
Deportivo are working very hard to keep Atletico at bay, with Adrian being forced to defend his own penalty box on a couple of occasions in quick succession. One-way traffic in the capital.
Thomas strikes one from outside the box after working a yard of space, but his effort was always rising over the crossbar. Still 1-0 Atletico as the second period continues to gather pace here.
Seedorf is urging his team up the field as we approach the hour mark at the Wanda. Gameiro's first-half penalty separates the two teams, and Deportivo have not really got going in the second period after a positive first 45 minutes. Still a lot of football to be played before the night is out.
Bit more possession for Deportivo in the last few minutes as they look to work the ball into the final third of the field. Lucas and Adrian are the two that Atletico will be worried about here.
DEPORTIVO SUB! Borja Valle replaces Muntari for the away side.
ATLETICO SUB! Isaac is replaced by Diego Costa for Atletico.
Half-chance for Deportivo as Valle meets a deep cross from Colak, but Godin clears en route to goal. Atletico are far from comfortable as we head for the final 25 minutes of football.
CLOSE! Almost an immediate impact from Costa as the Spain international bends the ball just wide of the Deportivo box following powerful work in the final third of the field.
A second for Atletico would surely kill this match, but Deportivo have plenty of pace on the counter-attack, and they seem to fancy their chances of scoring a leveller at the Wanda.
CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Deportivo as Adrian races clear of the Atletico defence, but Lucas Hernandez comes from nowhere to make a quite incredible tackle!
BOOKING! Costa (Atletico) is booked following a clash with Albentosa.
Luisinho delivers a dangerous cross into the Atletico box, but Godin is on hand to make the clearance. The home side then break down the other end with Costa, but the striker's cross is too strong for Correa, and Deportivo survive conceding a second goal at the Wanda.
ATLETICO SUB! Torres replaces Gameiro for the home side.
Still more than 15 minutes of football to play here, and just one goal separates the two teams.
DEPORTIVO SUB! Bakkali replaces Colak for the away side.
Costa races into the Deportivo box before settling and placing the ball back to Koke, but the ball had gone behind for a goal kick. Still 1-0 to the home side with 79 minutes on the clock.
CHANCE! Good chance for the away side as Adrian finds Bakkali inside the Atletico box, and the substitute's low effort hits the side-netting. Better from Deportivo.
Torres strikes into the arms of Deportivo stopper Ruben from distance.
DEPORTIVO SUB! Andone replaces Adrian for the away side.
Little over five minutes of football remaining, and Atletico still lead 1-0 in the capital.
Deportivo are still more than in this football match as they continue to commit players in the final third of the field. Can the visitors create one more chance in the closing stages here?
Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of minutes as Atletico keep the ball in Deportivo's half of the field. I suspect that there will not be too much added time here.
ATLETICO SUB! Moya replaces Thomas for the home side.
We are into the first of three additional minutes at the end of the 90.
Not too much to report in the three minutes of added time as Atletico close on yet another three points. It has been a decent effort from Deportivo, but they will fall short in this match.
BOOKING! Mosquera (Deportivo) is booked for a late foul on Costa.
FULL-TIME: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Deportivo
So there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Atletico running out 1-0 winners over Deportivo courtesy of a first-half penalty from Gameiro. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage once again. Until next time!