Joao Miranda and Mario Mandzukic score in narrow Atletico Madrid win

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Miranda and Mario Mandzukic scored the goals as Atletico Madrid claimed their first victory of the 2014/15 La Liga season with a 2-1 win over Eibar.

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Abraham replied for the newly-promoted visitors, who gave another good account of themselves despite the defeat.

All the goals came within the first 33 minutes at Vicente Calderon, while Atletico withstood some good pressure from Eibar to see the game out for the three points.

The defending champions were playing their first domestic home game since winning the title in May, and captain Gabi lifted the trophy prior to kick-off.

Diego Simeone was in the stands once again and he made two changes to the side that opened their campaign with a goalless draw at Rayo Vallecano last week. Guilherme Siqueira returned for Cristian Ansaldi at left-back, while Raul Garcia came into for Raul Jimenez with Antoine Griezmann moving up front.

Early opener

It took them just 12 minutes to get off the mark in front of their home fans. Miranda has been linked with a move away from the champions this summer, but he made a statement of intent as he was left unmarked to head home Koke’s corner off the underside of the bar.

Another set-piece doubled the hosts’ lead 13 minutes later. Mandzukic made it two goals in two home appearances following his Spanish Supercopa winner, as he towered above Raul Navas to nod in Atletico’s second from Gabi’s free-kick.

Griezmann went close to making it three soon after when he drilled a shot narrowly wide from distance while at the other end, last week’s match winner Javi Lara stung the palms of Miguel Angel Moya with a powerful free-kick.

Eibar were unchanged from the 1-0 win over Real Sociedad on their top-flight debut last week, and they halved the deficit on 33 minutes. Some crisp link-up play between Abraham, Angel and Mikel Arruabarrena resulted in the left-back curling a wonderful effort into the top corner.

The two-goal lead was nearly restored though before the break with Iruretagoiena Xabier at full stretch, as he scrambled back to turn over Raul Garcia’s looping shot from the edge of the area.

Gaizka Garitano’s men were very much on the front foot after the break and created the better chances.

Eneka Boveda nodded a deep Javi Lara free-kick just wide of the post, before an exceptional last-ditch challenge from Siqueira denied Angel of what would have been an equaliser as he was clean through.

But Atletico stubbornly held on in trademark style to claim their first win in the defence of their title.


Job done in the end for Atletico – another typical hard-fought single-goal victory. They need to make Vicente Calderon a fortress once again this year and it’s games like this that they must win with no excuses, while they’ll need to pick up more than their fair share of points against the bigger teams.

Take nothing away from Eibar though. After claiming a good scalp in Sociedad last week, they were close to leaving with a point today. While their aim will obviously be to preserve their top-flight status, they’ll definitely surprise a lot of teams this year if they carry on the way they are maintaining their performance and determination levels.

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