A solitary goal from Saul Niguez proved enough for Atletico Madrid to open their Champions League campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over PSV at the Philips Stadium.
Saul’s persistence paid off in the 43rd minute, the Spain international finding the net with a left-footed shot after his initial effort with his right had been blocked.
However, last season’s beaten finalists were indebted to Jan Oblak’s first-half penalty save, as he turned away Andres Guardado’s effort, for securing all three points from an absorbing Group D clash.
PSV also had a goal dubiously ruled out for a foul as their six-match unbeaten run in all competitions come to an end against the team that knocked them out of the same competition on penalties in the last 16 last term.
The hosts thought they had taken the lead inside six minutes when Luuk de Jong nodded in from close range, only for their celebrations to be cut short by referee Martin Atkinson’s whistle.
Hector Moreno was adjudged to have climbed on the shoulders of Filipe Luis before heading across to set up his unmarked team-mate.
If the home crowd were frustrated at that decision, they were apoplectic when the officials failed to award a penalty 14 minutes later for Diego Godin’s clumsy shoulder charge on Luciano Narsingh.
Having rode their luck at the back, Atletico took the lead just before the break when Saul fired home from inside the area at the second attempt.
There was still time for further drama, though, as PSV were gifted the chance to draw level in injury time. Atkinson punished Jose Maria Gimenez’s sliding tackle on Narsingh by pointing to the spot, despite the forward appearing to go down as an afterthought.
However, Oblak guessed correctly, diving to his left to beat away Guardado’s firmly-struck spot-kick.
Kevin Gameiro missed the chance to double the visitors’ advantage early in the second half, the forward firing over when he only had Jeroen Zoet to beat from 15 yards out.
The signing from Sevilla again failed to trouble the PSV goalkeeper soon after, striking his effort into the side netting after being put clear by Antoine Griezmann’s first-time pass on the half-volley.
Griezmann did have the ball in the net again in the 71st minute, only for the referee’s assistant to rule the Frenchman had made his run a fraction too early to reach Thiago’s chipped pass.
Godin was fortunate to get away with using his hand to block a De Jong header from a deep corner, while the PSV forward wasted his side’s final opportunity for an equaliser when heading over.
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