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Unsung Hero: Atletico Madrid’s Renan Lodi strikes perfect balance between defence and attack

Unsung Hero: Atletico Madrid’s Renan Lodi strikes perfect balance between defence and attack

Atletico Madrid took a step closer to progression from their Champions League group after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen at the Wanda Metropolitano last night.

It took a late header from substitute Alvaro Morata to secure victory for Diego Simeone’s men and keep them top of Group D, with Juventus joining them on seven points as the pair threaten to pull away from Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow. [via Daily Mail]

It looked as if it would be a frustrating night for the Rojiblancos, who were limited to just six shots in total and lost Jose Gimenez to injury after only 15 minutes, while Simeone’s decision to withdraw captain Koke for Morata in the second half was ultimately vindicated by the ex-Chelsea man grabbing the winner.

That goal came courtesy of a pinpoint cross from left-back Renan Lodi, who was one of Atletico’s standout performers in a largely uninspiring game.

The 21-year-old played two key passes against Leverkusen, as well as recording three successful dribbles, one successful tackle, two interceptions and three clearances, indicating that he combined defensive diligence with being a key attacking presence for Atletico. [via WhoScored]

His heatmap from the game showed that he spent most of his time in the opposition’s half of the pitch, while nobody in a Rojiblancos shirt attempted more dribbles, with 80% of those in Leverkusen’s half. [via WhoScored]

His performance was heralded by Ben Carter of 90min.com, who wrote that the left-back “executed his biggest role under Simeone by keeping a clean sheet, while he also offered more going forward than any other Atlético Madrid player”, as well as “doing enough in defence to keep Karim Bellarabi quiet”.

Indeed, Bellarabi’s influence was curbed by the efforts of Lodi. The Leverkusen winger ended up being dispossessed three times and was dribbled past on three occasions, while he also picked up a yellow card in the first half. [via WhoScored]

The young Brazilian had a difficult act to follow in Filipe Luis, who made 333 appearances across two spells for Atletico and played in two Champions League finals (2014 and 2016) as well as winning La Liga, but Lodi’s effectiveness in both defence and attack against Leverkusen suggests that he could be a very worthy successor to his fellow countryman at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Atletico fans, what did you make of Lodi’s performance against Leverkusen? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

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