Atletico wins 2-1 at Monaco in Champions League opener

September 18, 2018
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Atletico defender Jose Maria Gimenez, center, celebrates his goal with teammates during the Champions League Group A soccer match between Monaco and Atletico Madrid at the Louis II stadium in Monaco, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

MONACO (AP) — Monaco started its Champions League campaign with yet another home defeat, losing 2-1 to Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

After losing all three home games in the group stage last season, Leonardo Jardim’s side grabbed an early lead against the run of the play with a goal from Champions League debutant Samuel Grandsir.

However, Atletico dominated for long spells and struck back before the interval through goals from Diego Costa and Jose Gimenez.

The visitors had the stronger start and dominated with a high press that suffocated Monaco in the early stages. Costa came close of opening the scoring after only six minutes following a combination with Antoine Griezmann, but his curled shot ended just wide of Diego Benaglio’s post.

Grandsir’s pace and runs caused some trouble, though, and he took advantage of a lapse of concentration in Atletico’s back four to break the deadlock. Djibril Sidibe launched the move down the right flank and crossed for Radamel Falcao, who ran into the box and found Grandsir with a cutback pass that created panic in the area. Angel Correa and Saul Niguez could not clear the ball and the 22-year-old winger slotted home from close range with his right foot.

Atletico pushed hard for an equalizer and was rewarded after a string of one-touch passes culminated in Costa’s goal in the 32nd minute. Griezmann provided the assist with a subtle pass near the edge of the box that Costa collected before beating Benaglio.

Atletico dominated the remainder of the first half and took the lead from a corner just before the interval as Gimenez jumped higher than Falcao and Kevin N’Doram score with a powerful header.


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