Atletico beat Getafe as both sides see red
Atletico Madrid striker Alvaro Morata scored a goal and then missed a penalty as his side began their La Liga campaign with an eventful and nervy 1-0 win at home to Getafe on Sunday which saw both teams reduced to 10 men.
Morata nodded home a cross from England defender Kieran Trippier in the 23rd minute and things got even better for Atletico when Getafe’s Jorge Molina was shown a red card for a studs-up challenge in the 38th.
The home side’s numerical advantage only lasted four minutes though, as debutant left back Renan Lodi earned two yellow cards in the space of 60 seconds and followed Molina down the tunnel.
Atletico’s 126-million-euro signing Joao Felix thrilled the crowd with a superb run in the second half which led to him winning a penalty but Morata’s spot-kick was saved by Getafe’s David Soria.
Felix was substituted later on but Atletico coach Diego Simeone assuaged fears about the Portuguese teenager’s fitness by saying he was taken off due to muscle cramp and was not injured.
Atletico were left clinging on for the result by the end of the game as Getafe refused to give up and substitute Angel Rodriguez rattled the crossbar with a thumping strike with five minutes remaining.
But Simeone’s side held on to claim a win in their opening game for the first time in four years, continuing a strong run of results from an impressive pre-season in which they beat the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus.
“We have played some games recently where we had to battle really hard to win and today was no different,” Simeone said.
“Getafe are a hard working team that always cause you problems, they keep on fighting and they never let their guard down. We had a great first half performance and then when we had the chance to increase our advantage we didn’t take it.”
Morata meanwhile took responsibility for his missed penalty but underlined the importance of getting off to a winning start against Getafe, who came fifth in La Liga last season and narrowly missed out on a Champions League berth.
PSG leave out Neymar again on way to shock Rennes defeat
Rennes came from behind to stun lacklustre Paris St Germain with a deserved 2-1 victory at Roazhon Park in France’s Ligue 1 on Sunday.
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel left Neymar out of his squad for the second consecutive week amid uncertainty over the forward’s future and his side struggled to break down the resilient French Cup holders in the Brazilian’s absence.
The visitors were gifted the opener when Edinson Cavani tapped in after a defensive mix-up, but M’Baye Niang’s strike drew Rennes level on the stroke of halftime before Romain Del Castillo headed in the winner early in the second period. PSG captain Thiago Silva insisted that the ongoing saga around his compatriot’s future played no part in his team’s poor performance.
“For everyone it’s difficult, but it’s not an excuse,” he told Canal Plus television channel. “Neymar was not there. We must think of ourselves. I hope it’s the last (defeat of the season).”
Rennes join Lyon and Nice at the summit of the table on maximum points after the opening two rounds of the season, while the defeat leaves PSG in eighth. The reigning French champions were frustrated by their well-drilled hosts, who have become something of a bogey team for PSG.
Sunday’s victory marked Rennes’ fifth Ligue 1 win against the Parisians in the last 10 years, more than any other club. They also beat the Parisians in last season’s French Cup final.
“We were not attentive,” Silva conceded. “You have to raise your head, try to be better at the next game because it was not the Paris St Germain that we know.
“A physical problem? I don’t think so. We worked well. Rennes have been more solid defensively, more attentive, I do not know exactly what happened.”
The home side started brightly but they were undone on 36 minutes when Cavani pounced on a slack pass from Damien Da Silva to slot home.
Rennes, though, drew level on the brink of half time when Niang took down a cross just inside the PSG box, turned his marker and lashed a left-foot finish into the bottom corner.
The hosts then took the lead within three minutes of the restart when impressive 16-year-old midfielder Eduardo Camavinga lofted a cross into the path of Del Castillo to head home unmarked from close range.
PSG looked shell-shocked and almost went further behind when defender Jeremy Morel’s volley came back off the post.
Earlier on Sunday, Saint-Etienne were held 1-1 at home by newly-promoted Brest and Reims and Strasbourg played out a 0-0 stalemate.