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Atletico return to paradise with thrashing of PSV

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 Sep 2008

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Atletico Madrid's first appearance in European club football's elite competition for 11 years was lined with silver – and a 3-0 Champions League thrashing of PSV Eindhoven Tuesday.

Argentine Sergio Aguero proved the biggest thorn in the side of Huub Stevens' Dutch side, providing a ninth-minute opener and then giving the visitors a dream 2-0 lead before half time.

Portuguese midfielder Maniche then added a third goal in the 54th minute of the match to leave PSV scratching their heads.

It certainly left Stevens with a furrowed brow.

“3-0, is obviously a huge slap in the face,” said Stevens.

“Morale-wise it is not a great thing to happen. But I prefer to lose 3-0 than to lose 1-0 three times.

“This result is a small catastrophe, especially because we lost at home, but it doesn't mean we are eliminated.”

After Atletico's 4-0 win over FC Schalke 04 secured them a place in the Champions League group stages after an eleven-year absence from the competition, Spanish daily El País ran the headline “Atletico return to Paradise”.

Their 3-0 win puts them top of group D ahead of Liverpool, who beat a determined Marseille side 2-1 at the Velodrome.

Aguero bagged the opener after some nice work between Maniche and Luis Garcia, and then took advantage of the frail PSV defence to claim his second of the night.

PSV were never in the match and in the second half were virtually reduced to spectators as Atletico dictated play.

The guillotine came down definitively in the 54th minute when Portuguese midfielder Simao dispossessed defender Edison Mendez just outside the penalty area, slipped the ball to Luis Garcia who then turned provider for Maniche.

Atletico's Mexican coach Javier Aguirre was in seventh heaven, although his joy was tempered by the injury sustained by forward Diego Furlan.

“Obviously I'm delighted about the result, especially coming away from home. It's fantastic,” said Aguirre.

“I'm a little worried about the injury to Furlan, and hope it's not too serious because he is crucial to my team.”

Aguirre admitted this win will provide them with a springboard for the upcoming matches, starting with their hosting of Marseille in a fortnight.

But he is not getting carried away.

“Starting the Champions League with an away win has opened up the possibilities for us. But although we know that we have what it takes to go far in this competition, we have to keep cool head.

“With Marseille and Liverpool, Group D is far from being easy.”

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