Cristian Rodríguez powered in the winner in added time as Club Atlético de Madrid took firm control of UEFA Europa League Group B with victory against FC Viktoria Plzeň.
It appeared that the Rojiblancos' 14-game European winning streak was coming to an end as they laboured for long periods against the disciplined Czech side. However, the Uruguayan blasted past Matúš Kozáčik with the clock showing 93 minutes to stretch the run to 15 matches and make it two victories from two in the secion.
With an undefeated domestic start under their belts, including winning their last five in the Liga, the hosts were expected to come out firing on all cylinders, but Pavel Vrba's men did an excellent job of blunting Falcao-less Atlético. Emre Belözoğlu, Gabi and Rodríguez were restricted to efforts from distance, with only Koke's tame shot working Kozáčik before the break.
In fact, despite the Liga outfit controlling long spells of the game, the clearest openings fell to the visitors. Marek Bakoš headed just wide at the back post before Marek Hanousek pounced on a dawdling Emre in the area only for Domingo Cisma to wisely cut out the pull-back with Bakoš lurking.
The pattern continued after the restart, but again Diego Simeone's men struggled, and it was Sergio Asenjo who had to be the sharper of the goalkeepers as Václav Procházka slammed a free-kick towards the top corner.
At the other end, Raúl García's header elicited a sharp late save from Kozáčik, before Plzeň's dogged resistance was finally broken when Rodríguez received Emre's short free-kick 20 metres from goal, took a touch and drilled into the roof of the net. Atlético's winning sequence next comes under threat when they host A. Académica de Coimbra on 25 October, the same day Plzeň go to Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC.
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