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Atletico Madrid 1 Las Palmas 0: Simeone´s men stumble to victory

SoccerNews in La Liga 22 Aug 2015

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A first-half goal from Antoine Griezmann ensured that Atletico Madrid made a winning start to the new La Liga season as they defeated Las Palmas 1-0 at the Vicente Calderon.

Diego Simeone handed a debut to new recruit Jackson Martinez, but the Colombian struggled to threaten the goal in almost an hour on the pitch.

Instead it was left to one of last season’s leading lights, Griezmann, to settle the contest, though there was a large element of luck as the Frenchman’s deflected effort secured three points.

The result capped a positive week for Atletico which also saw key defender Diego Godin sign a one-year contract extension.

However, Simeone will have concerns about his side’s inability to kill the game off, with Las Palmas seeing a string of late chances repelled by the excellent Jan Oblak in Atleti’s goal.

Expected to dominate against newly promoted opposition, Atleti created two chances in the opening five minutes.

First, Griezmann flashed a snap-shot narrowly wide before Tiago climbed highest to meet a Juanfran cross from the right, but failed to direct his header on target.

An opening goal for the hosts seemed inevitable as they continued to pile on the pressure and it duly arrived in the 16th minute when Griezmann’s 22-yard free-kick deflected off the wall and left Las Palmas goalkeeper Raul Lizoain flatfooted.

Las Palmas refused to crumble after that early setback and although an off-target, long-range effort from Roque Mesa was all they could manage going forward, they defended stoutly, with Lizoain producing a fine save to deny the lively Griezmann in first-half stoppage-time.

Returning left-back Filipe Luis had been a constant threat for Atleti during the opening period and he continued to torment the Las Palmas defence after the break, whipping in a superb cross on 55 minutes which the onrushing Martinez was just unable to slide into the net.

The Brazilian neglected his defensive duties moments later, however, failing to mark David Simon at a set-piece and allowing the defender a free header which grazed the crossbar as the visitors gathered momentum.

And Simeone’s men enjoyed another let-off in the 74th minute when Oblak pulled off a magnificent save low to his right to keep out a close-range effort from Aythami.

The altogether busier Lizoain then matched Oblak at the other end by keeping out a ferocious angled strike from Filipe as Atleti continued to press for a second goal right to the final whistle, while Koke clipped the post with a free-kick in the final minute of normal time.

Next up for the men from the capital is a tricky trip to Sevilla, while Las Palmas will hope to pick up their first points of the season when they host Levante.

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