Europa League: Atlético 2 – 0 Celtic

Rojiblancos off to a great start as two debutants make the difference

Atlético players celebrate the opening goal(Marca.com)

Atlético players celebrate the opening goal
(Marca.com)

Atlético Madrid are off to a great start in the Europa League. The 2009/10 winners beat Scottish giants Celtic 2-0 at the Vicente Calderón.

Gregorio Manzano rested several first team players, but did have a place in his line-up for six of Atlético’s new signings.

Diego and Falcao made their debut in the Vicente Calderón and showed glimpses of what’s to come.

After just three minutes the duo created the opening goal. The former delivered a corner, which was headed in by Falcao.

The Colombian striker finished topscorer of last year’s edition of the Europa League with 17 goals, and opened his account for Atleti with his first official goal for the club.

Diego was given a free role behind the striker and was very active on Thursday night. It took him only 25 seconds to take his first shot of the match and he had multiple tries during the first half, but his attempts were off target or saved by goalkeeper Forster.

Although Atleti dominated from the first minute on, there was a big scare in the 7th minute when Hooper appeared all alone before Courtois. The Rojiblanco defence had done little to stop Celtic’s counterattack, but fortunately the young goalkeeper saved the 1-on-1 situation.

For all their possession, Atleti created few opportunities in the first half, with most shots coming from outside the box.

Immediately after the break the first chance was for South Korean midfielder Ki, but his long range effort was tipped over the bar by Courtois.

In the 49th minute Diego experienced a déjà vu, when he was pushed from behind inside the penalty area. Like against Valencia, his penalty claim was ignored as the referee waved play on.

After an hour of play Atleti seemed to lose momentum and Celtic started to crawl out of their shell, looking for the equaliser. A freekick by Mulgrew was curled just wide.

Just when the team needed it most, they struck a second time to end Celtic’s hopes of getting a result. Diego was at the end of a lovely move by Antonio López and Arda Turan, and calmly slotted the ball into the far corner.

Some minutes later Arda Turan almost got his first Atlético goal too, but Forster got a hand to the Turk’s shot and the ball smashed against the crossbar.

Shots by Ledley and Kayal at the other end went off target.

After Diego received a standing ovation as he was subbed off, Atleti created two more opportunities. Reyes’ deflected freekick went just wide and a shot by Tiago from the ensuing corner was saved by Celtic’s goalkeeper.

In the added time José Antonio Reyes handed Arda the chance to complete a hat-trick of goals by three summer signings, but his attempted chip didn’t beat Forster as the match finished 2-0.

The other game from Group I of the Europa League between Udinese and Rennes ended 2-1 in favour of the Italians. Next up for Atleti is a trip to France on the 29th of September.

Line-up: Courtois; Perea, Miranda, Godín, López; Koke (“57 Reyes), Mario, Gabi (“70 Adrián); Diego (“84 Tiago), Falcao and Arda.

Goals: 1-0 Falcao (“3); 2-0 Diego (“68)


  • palc

    Dieeeego, Dieeeego, Dieeeego.

  • karam

    hello guys ,, first of all congratulations for all of us for this good and solid win 🙂

    second .. courtius 10/10
    miranda 8/10
    diego 10/10
    falcao 7/10
    arda !!! 20/10 he was very good realy

    finaly ,, if our players got use to each other we will COMPETE for LA LIGA ,, am very sure cuz we have a very good players

    VERY IMPORTANT NOTE TO MANZANO :
    We must craete alot of opportunities for falcao and a lot of CROSES please ,, cuz our ways now is not working and falcao will never score to much .. thnx

    AUPA ATLETI ,,,,

  • RojiBlanco

    Normally we should have Filipe Luis & Silvio bombing down the wings and giving the crosses (although not like Silvios crosses last weekend..), but yes, I agree!

  • Turkish Fan

    ARDA TURAN…..

  • starvs

    Parea’s crosses are LOL. Having Silvio and Filipe back will be a big difference.

    Interested to see if Manzano continues with Miranda.

    Would have been great to see all of Falcao, Diego, and Turan on the score sheet. Arda was a little unlucky not to get one.

    I can’t wait to see what happens when Reyes and Diego play 90 together.

  • Javi

    What a difference from last year, we can actually complete more than three passes…
    Once this team gets to know each other watch out!
    Very happy and excited about what is happening
    On the other side Gabi, Mario and Koke were disappointing
    We need to figure something there
    Starvs I actually enjoyed seeing Perea on the attack, once he feels comfortable doing it who knows…
    Lopez played better than Filipe…competition is good
    Manzano is smart
    I would like to see Salvio and Pizzi up front with Falcao and have Diego and Arda replace Gabi and Koke or Mario

  • Nick W

    Why did Arda, Diego, and Falcao have one hand/wrist taped in red? And did that have anything to do with Diego’s celebration after his goal? I feel like I missed something….

  • Turkish Fan

    ARDA should play 90 mins with falcao in everygame with dieogo and reyes…then no problem about getting score.u ll see,i say for 1 month abotu arda,and u start to see..he s so smart,have so great skills,anc can read game earlier than anyone…he s not a scorer,he s an asister..

  • Davide

    I have often criticized Reyes recently, but yesterday i was happy with his part in the game. He was playing like a teammate, and not the usual wannabe one man show. I hope he continues down this path.

    Nick W//

    Because they are still on probation at Atlético, the jury is still out on them 🙂

  • DavidSF

    NOW IF WE ONLY HAD A WORLD CLASS “Defensive” or “Box to Box” Midfielder…
    Genuine contenders of La Liga?

  • starvs

    DavidSF, Koke circa 2013.

  • 7th

    starvs, koke circa 2013????

  • mohammad

    so…. good performance yesterday for atleti. But I think if we start with mario, gabi and diego(playmaker), reyes, arda and falcao this will be more creative coz 3 solid midfielders without diego lack creativity..