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Rediff.com  » Sports » We take a look at La Liga and Bundesliga

We take a look at La Liga and Bundesliga

August 20, 2017 13:37 IST

Atletico dig deep to draw at Girona after Griezmann sees red

Fernando Torres

IMAGE: Atletico Madrid’s Fernando Torres in action against Girona. Photograph: Atletico Madrid/Twitter

Atletico Madrid demonstrated their remarkable team spirit to come roaring back from two goals and a man down to draw 2-2 at Liga debutants Girona on Saturday, after Antoine Griezmann had been sent off for the first time in his career.

Girona looked set to enjoy a dream top flight bow when Uruguay international Cristhian Stuani rose to head in a sweeping cross from Alex Granell midway through the first half and three minutes later showed his predator's instinct to nod in a loose ball from close range.

 

Argentine forward Angel Correa pulled one back for Atletico with a long range strike in the 78th minute, after Griezmann had been dismissed for two successive bookings, one for diving to try and win a penalty and another for dissent.

Defender Jose Gimenez then beat Girona goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz to Koke's chipped free-kick to head Atletico level in the 85th minute and cap a thrilling encounter at the Montilivi stadium, which was hastily expanded for the club's first Liga game.

"Girona are a solid team that knows how they want to play and they proved that in the first half, but I'm delighted with the good things we did, we again showed that we never give up and keep fighting until the end," Atletico coach Diego Simeone told reporters.

Girona boss Pablo Machin said: "We were on our way to a memorable win, not just because it was a historic game for us but because of how we played. Just when it looked like we'd done everything to win, Atletico did what champions do and as well as their quality they had that slice of luck which we didn't."

Stuani returned to Spain this summer after two years at Middlesbrough and already has half the amount of league goals with Girona he managed last season. His quick-fire strikes had the home supporters on their feet as they savoured the club's first game in the top flight in their 87-year history.

Atletico nearly struck back early in the second half when Griezmann launched himself acrobatically at a high through ball, but his bicycle kick flew past the far post.

Once Correa had got them back in the game with his sublime strike, substitute Luciano Vietto should have levelled when he was played in the area, only to blast over the bar. Girona tired despite their numerical advantage and Gimenez eventually pulled Atletico out of trouble.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Real Sociedad twice came from behind to win 3-2 at Celta Vigo, snatching three points with a late penalty from Willian Jose after Uruguayan Maxi Gomez had scored twice on his debut for Celta.

Sevilla meanwhile drew 1-1 at home to Espanyol, with Argentine midfielder Ever Banega being sent off for two successive yellow cards on his first game back at the Andalusian club, one for a foul and the other for protesting the foul.

Ruthless Dortmund maul Wolves in Bundesliga start

Dortmund players

IMAGE: Borussia Dortmund  players celebrate. Photograph: Twitter

Borussia Dortmund overcame hosts VfL Wolfsburg 3-0 on Saturday to make a flawless start to their Bundesliga season as last season's runners-up RB Leipzig suffered a shock loss at Schalke 04.

New Dortmund coach Peter Bosz had promised attractive, attacking football and his team, who finished third last season, delivered on his Bundesliga debut.

There was more good news for Dortmund with Mario Goetze making his comeback after half a year out following a metabolic disorder and the Germany international set up 18-year-old Christian Pulisic after 22 minutes for the first goal at the Volkswagen Arena.

The absence of suspended Ousmane Dembele, who missed training last week amid speculation about a possible move to Barcelona, was quickly forgotten as Marc Bartra doubled the lead five minutes later against a dazed Wolfsburg defence.

With the Wolves cornered, Dortmund kept up the pressure and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, last season's Bundesliga top scorer, added a third on the hour.

"I am very satisfied. A 3-0 win at Wolfsburg is a very good result," Bosz said. "Overall we delivered a very good team performance and that is important."

"Christian Pulisic is still very young but he did really well today," Bosz said of the American teenager. "Not only because of the goal. He was everywhere today."

Champions Bayern Munich are also on three points after Friday's 3-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.

An 84th-minute deflected effort from Andrej Kramaric gave Hoffenheim, who face Liverpool next week for a spot in the Champions League group stage, a 1-0 win over Werder Bremen.

Australian Mathew Leckie struck twice for new club Hertha Berlin as they beat promoted VfB Stuttgart, back after a season in the second division, 2-0.

Schalke, with 31-year-old coach Domenico Tedesco making his Bundesliga debut, scored once in either half to beat Leipzig 2-0 with the visitors' sensational league run last season already a distant memory.

Nabil Bentaleb put them ahead with a 43rd minute penalty before Yevhen Konoplyanka, who had scored twice in the German Cup on Monday, struck to finish Leipzig off.

Nicolai Mueller's goal gave Hamburg, who suffered a shock first-round exit in the German Cup last week, a 1-0 win over Augsburg for their first victory at the start of the season in seven years.

Promoted Hanover 96 won by the same scoreline, with Austrian Martin Harnik on target against Mainz 05.

Source:
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