Alvaro Morata’s first-half goal earned Atletico Madrid a 1-0 win over Getafe as they made a victorious start to the new LaLiga season.
Morata converted a cross from new signing Kieran Trippier, who impressed on his debut, 23 minutes into the first half at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Getafe’s Jorge Molina and Atletico’s Renan Lodi were both sent off in quick succession as events took a dramatic turn before half-time.
Morata spurned the opportunity to claim a second when he saw a penalty saved in the second half after fine work from Joao Felix, who caught the eye before being substituted after an awkward fall in the 66th minute.
But Atletico held on to a hard-fought victory regardless.
It was a close-season of change at Atletico with the departure of Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona and an influx of new arrivals including €126million Joao Felix and England international Trippier.
The former Tottenham defender claimed his first assist, delivering a pinpoint cross from the right which was powerfully headed home by Morata.
“Hey mate, I’ve scored Atleti’s first goal in the 2019/20 @LaLigaEN season!”
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) August 18, 2019
It was no more than the home side deserved after a dominant start and they were dealt a further boost when Molina saw his initial yellow card switched to red following a VAR consultation after he caught Thomas Partey’s heel with his studs.
Yet, in a dramatic end to the half, Atletico were also reduced to 10 men after Lodi, making his debut, received two yellow cards in quick succession, his second for appearing to catch Damian Suarez’s face in an aerial duel.
After the break, a sensational run from Joao Felix ended with him being poleaxed for a penalty in the 56th minute, only for Morata to see his spot kick saved superbly by David Soria.
Joao Felix was soon replaced by fellow new signing Marcos Llorente after receiving medical attention and Diego Simeone’s side managed to cling on to the three points despite Angel Rodriguez hitting the crossbar from long-range late on.
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) August 18, 2019
What does it mean? First one out of the way
It is early days, but as Barcelona’s defeat to Athletic Bilbao on Friday proved, take nothing for granted on an opening weekend. After rivals Real Madrid’s victorious start, Simeone will be pleased to see his team having made a winning opening to their campaign as well.
It was a dream start to his LaLiga career for England full-back Trippier, who made a strong case for man of the match. His willingness to get forward down Atletico’s right is precisely why Simeone signed him and his stunning delivery for Morata’s goal will have quickly endeared him to the home crowd.
Nightmare debut for Lodi
While it was a fine introduction for Trippier, it proved to be the opposite on the other flank for Lodi, who was signed from Athletico Paranaense in the close season. Two yellow cards in as many minutes and an early bath before half-time was almost the worst possible start the Brazilian could have wished for.
– Only Griezmann (eight) has scored more LaLiga goals than Morata (seven) for Atletico in 2019.
– Twelve different players have been sent off for Getafe under Jose Bordalas in LaLiga, more than any other manager in the competition since 2017-18.
– Trippier is the first Englishman to provide an assist in LaLiga since Jermaine Pennant for Real Zaragoza against Sporting Gijon in February 2010.
– No goalkeeper has saved more penalties than Getafe’s Soria in LaLiga since the start of last season (three, the same as Jordi Masip and Alberto Garcia).
– Since their last promotion to LaLiga, Lodi is the second Atletico player to be sent off on his debut in the competition, the first one since Giourkas Seitaridis against Racing Santander in August 2006.
A date with Leganes awaits Atletico next Sunday, providing Simeone’s team with a real chance to continue their perfect start to the new season. Getafe host Athletic Bilbao the day before.
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