Atletico Madrid opened their UEFA Champions League campaign with a surprise 3-2 defeat at the hands of an inspired Olympiacos side at the Karaiskakis Stadium.
Last year’s finalists fell behind after 13 minutes through Arthur Masuaku’s clean strike, before a real mix-up in the defence allowed Barcelona loanee Ibrahim Afellay to double the lead 18 minutes later.
Mario Mandzukic narrowed the deficit before the break but Kostas Mitroglou restored the two-goal advantage 17 minutes from time. Substitute Antoine Griezmann grabbed a late consolation but it was too little too late for the La Liga champions.
How it happened
Diego Simeone was back in the stands for another touchline ban after his explosion at the conclusion of the Champions League final, and he made four changes to the side that overcame bitter rivals Real in the Madrid derby on Saturday.
Arda Turan was rewarded with his first start in four months after his winning goal at the weekend. Raul Jimenez made way, as did the other scorer Tiago Mendes, who was replaced by Mario Suarez in the heart of midfield.
Jan Oblak was given his debut ahead of Miguel Angel Moya in goal, while Patrick Ansaldi came in at left-back for Guilherme Siqueira.
Atletico were favourites for this one, but they knew they would be in for a battle when Mandzukic was given a bloody nose early on after taking an elbow to the face.
They were then stunned by the hosts 13 minutes in, as a quick corner saw Masuaku receive the ball 25 yards out and drill home through the crowd of bodies in the area.
Raul Garcia headed just over for Los Rojiblancos while former Barca defender Eric Abidal did enough to block Mandzukic’s header. But Michel’s side grabbed the second goal just after the half-hour mark as Alejandro Dominguez went on a strong run down the left, and Mitroglou’s dummy caused a mix-up between Suarez and Ansaldi, leaving Afellay in acres of space to calmly slot the ball home.
Atleti needed a response and they got one seven minutes before the break, when Ansaldi’s deep cross from the left found Mandzukic who headed back across the keeper and into the corner.
Attempt to salvage
Griezmann was introduced early in the second half and looked lively from his introduction, forcing Roberto to push over a fierce strike before the 'keeper had to get down and stop a low drive from the Frenchman creeping into the far corner.
But the hosts re-established their two-goal lead 17 minutes from time. Giannis Maniatis pounced on an error from Ansaldi and released Pajtim Kasami down the right, before his cross found Mitroglou who held off Miranda before sliding the ball home.
Simeone’s men were on the ascendency in the final stages. Substitute Alessio Cerci headed straight at Roberto, before Griezmann grabbed a consolation four minutes from time as he arrived at the far post to fire into the roof of the net from Koke’s inviting ball across the area.
Disappointment for the Spanish champions for what was an unusually below average performance, and they must certainly up their game when they host Juventus in a fortnight’s time.
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