Atletico Madrid failed to bounce back from their Copa del Rey humiliation to Cultural Leonesa as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home by a Leganes side that began the day bottom of LaLiga.
The embarrassing Copa defeat to third-tier Cultural put Diego Simeone's future in question, with some suggesting Atletico have become stale under his guidance, and Sunday's insipid display did little to disprove such concerns.
Atletico did control the first half and created the better chances, with Leganes generally offering little going forward, but the hosts' frontline struggled to link up effectively.
They arguably struggled even more in the second period without the necessary cutting edge, as Leganes clung on to a point despite left-back Jonathan Silva playing the final minutes in goal after goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar was shown a second yellow for timewasting, which involved an altercation with a ball boy.
Although they were by no means impressive, Atletico did at least manage to have the better of the first half.
Angel Correa, enjoying something of a renaissance in recent weeks, should have done better just before the half-hour mark – slamming a volley over the crossbar after Renan Lodi's cross fell to him.
Alvaro Morata and Correa then went close a few minutes apart towards the end of the half, Cuellar producing smart saves from both to ease the pressure.
Leganes coped better after the interval and, although they sat deeper than before, they almost took the lead in the 66th minute as Recio's 25-yard strike crucially took a deflection to go just over.
The visitors escaped a penalty shout soon after when Vitolo went to ground after a mistimed challenge from Unai Bustinza, but the Atletico winger was adjudged to have manufactured the contact.
Felipe also felt he should have won a spot-kick in the final 10 minutes after a seemingly accidental trip by Roberto Rosales, but again Leganes escaped.
Cuellar put Leganes in a testing position late on when his gamesmanship, which saw him shoved by a ball boy, earned him a second booking and he then sparked several on-pitch altercations by taking his time leaving the field.
But his behaviour ultimately did not come back to cost Leganes.
What does it mean? Simeone out of ideas
Atletico's attacking woes are nothing new. They are the lowest scorers of the teams in the top six this season but, after losing to third-tier opposition, one might have expected them to change something.
But the same issues were apparent again, with cohesion between the forwards sorely lacking. Atletico are chasing Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani, and maybe he will be an improvement on Morata, but it is difficult to see how a single – and somewhat one-dimensional – striker will change their fortunes.
Leganes hold firm at the back
A colossal effort was required from Leganes' backline at the Wanda Metropolitano. Kenneth Omeruo was impressive with two tackles and a match-high of nine clearances, while Roberto Rosales also proved to be in the right place at the right times on several occasions, clearing three times and making four interceptions.
Morata unconvincing again
While the service to Atletico's forwards was not perfect, they certainly had enough ammunition to get at least one goal. But Morata looked bereft of confidence, wasting a couple of good chances, and that proved costly.
Key Opta Facts
- Atletico Madrid have drawn three home LaLiga games 0-0 this season, more than in any other single season under Diego Simeone.
- Atletico have collected 36 points in 2019-20, their lowest tally at this stage of a league season since 2011-12 (30 points).
- Atletico are unbeaten in their last six Madrilean league derbies, keeping a clean sheet in all of them (W4 D2).
- Atletico have made 705 touches against Leganes, their best tally in a home LaLiga game this season.
- Leganes have only lost one of their five away LaLiga games under Javier Aguirre (D4) after losing five of the previous six (D1).
It does not get any easier for Atletico. They go to Real Madrid in the derby on Saturday, while Leganes face Barcelona at Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey on Thursday.