Antoine Griezmann’s deflected first-half freekick was enough for Atletico Madrid, as Diego Simeone’s side kicked off their La Liga campaign with a narrow 1-0 win over Las Palmas.
The Vicente Calderon side have made a number of changes to their squad over the summer, with Jackson Martinez signed from Porto to lead the line. The Colombian striker didn’t enjoy his most productive evening however, and was replaced byFernando Torres on the hour-mark.
Oliver Torres – who was on loan at Porto last season – enjoyed an impressive Liga debut for his parent club, with Filipe Luis also playing well following his return fromChelsea. But Atletico struggled to create much in the way of goalscoring opportunities.
Griezmann’s goal gave Atletico the lead after just 16 minutes, but Simeone’s side failed to build on that advantage – holding off some late Las Palmas pressure to secure a narrow, but hard-earned, 1-0 victory.
4’ GRIEZMANN SHOT: That couldn’t have been too far away! The ball is played into the channel, with Griezmann angling an improvised half volley towards goal from a tight angle. But it flashes past the post!
16’ GOAL! Atletico Madrid 1 Las Palmas 0: Atleti’s season is off the mark! Griezmann strikes the freekick from the edge of the box, with the deflection off the wall taking the ball past the goalkeeper.
45’ GOOD STOP: Lizoain makes the save from Griezmann! The French striker angled an effort on goal from just inside the box, but this time the Las Palmas goalkeeper makes the stop to deny him.
56’ OPPORTUNITY: That was an opportunity for Martinez! The ball came in from the left wing from Luis, with the Colombian getting in front of his marker at the near post… but Alcaraz makes the last ditch challenge.
59’ OFF THE CROSSBAR! What an opportunity for Las Palmas to draw level. Atletico Madrid lose Simon from a freekick, and the midfielder glances a header off the top of the woodwork.
72’ DOUBLE CHANCE FOR ATLETICO MADRID! First of all Luis plays the ball across the face of goal for Torres, only for the pass to be cut out. Then Correa’s follow up effort is blocked by Alcaraz.
74’ GREAT SAVE BY OBLAK! A Las Palmas corner kick to the near post is deflected by a player in yellow towards goal, with the Atletico Madrid keeper diving down low to claw it off his line.
80’ GREAT PLAY FROM LUIS! The former Chelsea left-back drives at the opposition backline, beating his man and making it to the byline, but his shot/cross is saved by Lizoain at his near post.
91’ OFF THE POST! Koke lines up the freekick from about 20 yards out and has Lizoain completely rooted to the spot with his strike – but his effort clips the outside of the post and goes wide.
Atletico Madrid’s last goal from direct free kick (until Griezmann’s today) in La Liga was scored by Radamel Falcao back in October 2012.
Griezmann’s 63rd goal in La Liga is his first from a direct free kick
TALKING POINT – Is Jackson Martinez the right striker to lead Atletico Madrid’s line?
Much is expected of the Colombian striker this season. After all, the last forward to make the move from Porto to Atletico Madrid was rather good. Mario Mandzukic wasn’t the right man to lead Simeone’s forward line last season – with the Croatian shipped off to Juventus this summer – so is Martinez the right replacement? The 28-year-old was kept quiet by Las Palmas on his La Liga debut however, leaving much room for improvement.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Filipe Luis
The Brazilian left quite a void in the Atletico Madrid team last season, following his move to Chelsea. Someone tried to find a replacement, with a number of options used at left-back, but nobody proved to be the right fit. Now Luis has returned however, and he showed just how important he is to Atleti with an impressive first game of the season.
Atletico Madrid – Oblak 7, Juanfran 7, Gimenez 6, Luis 8, Tiago 6, Gabi 6, Koke 6, Oliver 7, Martinez 5, Griezmann 8. Subs – Correa 7, Garcia, Torres 5.
Las Palmas – Lizoain 5, Simon 6, Alcaraz 6, Aythami 5, Bigas 5, Castellano 6, Quevedo 5, Hernan 5, Castellano 5, Viera 6, Araujo 6. Subs – Gomez 6, Momo 5, Jose 5.