Girona 2-2 Atletico Madrid LaLiga Santander: Match report.. goals, goals, goals
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Girona 2-2 Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid welcomed Girona to LaLiga in a game that many billed as a formality for Diego Simeone's charges. Girona, newly promoted from the Segunda division, are expected to battle relegation in their first ever game in the top flight but showed they have plenty to offer LaLiga against a stale Atletico Madrid side.
They were on the front foot from the off and refused to allow Atletico Madrid dictate proceedings even if the visiting side weren't crying out for possession in any case.
Atletico, who were looking frustrated early on, were 1-0 down after 22 minutes when Christian Stuani headed beyond Jan Oblak to give the home side the lead.
A blip that would ignite Atletico, they said, but Christian Stuani had his and Girona's second of the night just three minutes later when Jose Gimenez headed into the number seven's path to leave LaLiga's newboys on cloud nine with a two goal lead, 25 minutes gone and dreaming of three points.
They never stopped pressing and looking to control possession to their credit and never once in the first half allowed Atletico to settle on the ball or create chances. Again, Atletico weren't doing much to help themselves in this regard.
The second half started with no changes for either side and soon enough Girona were back on top and Atletico were growing more frustrated. As they retreated, they looked more likely to score on the counter than Atletico looked like breaking them down.
The odds on Atletico mounting a comeback grew even leaner when Antoine Griezmann was booked for a dive in the penalty area when it looked like Iraizoz took him down with his legs. As referee, Juan Martinez, showed the Frenchman the yellow, Griezmann said something unsavoury and out came the red without hesitation.
Atletico were down to 10 men, down two goals and down on their luck with little chance of a resurrection.
Angel Correa made a run through the middle of a tiring Girona's defense and rifled with his right to give Atletico the faintest of hopes on 78 minutes and seven minutes later as Atletico grew more desperate, Correa won a free that Koke sent onto the head of Jose Gimenez. The Uruguyuan beat Iraizoz to it and Atletico were level with their sights on the third goal for three points.
They tried and tried for that winner, and so did Girona to their credit with Jan Oblak called on late to save off the line from Kayode.
If given a point before the game, you might think Pablo Machín would have taken it but at half-time he might have changed his mind. On the flipside, Diego Simeone might have turned his nose up to a point before kick-off but will be glad of his South American heroes in Gimenez and Correa and glad to be leaving Girona for the long trip south with a point.
Girona - Atlético Madrid live stream online: latest news
Girona vs Atlético Madrid live stream online: match preview
Girona will begin their first ever LaLiga season with a match against Atlético Madrid at the Estadio Montilivi.
The Catalan side made the leap in to the top flight last season after several years in the upper echelons of the Segunda División. Diego Simeone's team eased to third place after a strong end to the 2016/17 season.
Find out how and where to watch Girona v Atlético Madrid.
The Blanquivermell come in to the season with a distinctly Mancunian flavour. Five of Pablo Machín's squad (Douglas Luiz, Marlos Moreno, Aleix García, Pablo Maffeo, Olarenwaju Kayode) are on loan from Manchester City.
Girona have become City's unofficial feeder club, with City Football Group expected to purchase the club in the near future. There is a familial link at the heart of the arrangement; Pep Guardiola's brother, Pere, was part of a consortium that bought Girona in 2015.
The link between the two clubs led City to visit earlier this week for a friendly match, a curious fixture given that the Premier League has already started. Nevertheless, Girona ground out a 1-0 victory against a strong City side. The Spanish side deployed a three-man defence, including Stoke City loanee Marc Muniesa, and appeared well-organised at the back. Their other pre-season results also suggest that Atlético will not be allowed to create chances at will. Machín's side had goal-less draws with Brighton, Reus, and Olot.
Cristian Stuani joins from Middlesbrough to lead the attack, and while the Uruguayan is an experienced campaigner in LaLiga, El Cholo's defence should be able to cope.
Los Colchoneros come in to to the season with key players still at the club. Given that a transfer ban prevented them from bringing in fresh blood, retaining the likes of Griezmann, Koke, and Savic represents success.
Diego Simeone's side will have to wait until January to incorporate Vitolo (and quite possibly Diego Costa) in to his squad. The players who are present and correct have a relatively clean bill of health. Kevin Gameiro is definitely out. Felipe Luis is a doubt at left back, but Lucas Hernández has proved capable back-up. Augusto Fernández returns after an injury-hit season to provide cover in midfield, and another option in defence if necessary.
Diego Godin and Thomas Partey will play no part. Both have suspensions carried over from the end of last season.
Atlético had a 'solid' pre-season. They fought off Napoli and Liverpool (on penalties) to win the Audi Cup in Munich, and beat Premier League newcomers Brighton 2-3 on the south coast of England.
Girona vs Atlético Madrid live stream online: probable line-ups
Expected Girona XI: Iraizoz; Alcalá, Espinosa, Muniesa; Maffeo, Riera, Luiz, Benítez; García, Portú; Stuani.
Expected Atlético XI: Oblak; Juanfran, Giménez, Savic, Lucas; Gaitán, Koke, Gabi, Carrasco; Torres, Griezmann.
Girona vs Atlético Madrid live stream online: odds and betting
Girona will set up stodgily, while Atleti are masters of the clean sheet... a 0-0 draw is available at 9/1.
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