Club Atlético de Madrid marked their first appearance in the UEFA Champions League for eleven years with a resounding 3-0 victory against PSV Eindhoven as Sergio Agüero gave further notice of his burgeoning talents.
Slick and incisive
Agüero scored twice in a first half which saw his side surge forward, all slick combinations and incisive passing as Huub Stevens' men were driven on to the back foot. The Eredivisie champions struggled to gain any measure of control, and it came as little surprise when Portuguese midfielder Maniche added a third after the break. PSV continued to plug away, creating a couple of half chances, but Atlético were seldom troubled and the pressure will be on the Dutch side when they travel to Liverpool FC for their next Group D outing in a fortnight.
It proved a tepid end to a match that had exploded into life with chances at both ends in a breathless opening minute. First Ibrahim Afellay whipped in a cross from the right that Leo Franco in the visitors' goal was grateful to gather and within seconds PSV counterpart Andreas Isaksson saved well after Agüero had broken free. Soon after Nordin Amrabat volleyed over after more good work by Afellay, but it was the visitors who were making most of the running, and took the lead on nine minutes.
Maniche carved open the home defence and fed Luis García, whose low cross was turned in from close range by Agüero. Simão almost extended his side's lead immediately but his drive from just outside the box was turned behind by Isaksson – the Spanish side were relishing their return to a stage they had last graced in 1996/97. PSV were just trying to hold on, and Carlos Salcido did well to hook a dangerous Agüero cross clear.
The hosts held on, and fashioned their first real chance on 35 minutes when Timmy Simons released Danny Koevermans, but Franco raced from his line to clear. A minute later it was 2-0. Florent Sinama Pongolle, only just introduced in place of the injured Diego Forlán, fed Agüero, and the Argentinian turned Jérémie Bréchet and fired high into the net. The half drew to a close with Atlético still in the ascendancy, but Edison Méndez stirred the home support immediately after the restart with a stinging long-range effort that forced Franco to tip over.
The Ecuadorian international was soon the villain at the other end, caught in possession by Simão after 54 minutes. Two passes later the ball reached Maniche, who duly dispatched it beyond Isaksson. Koevermans nearly pulled a goal back just after the hour mark, but his header from Amrabat's cross flashed wide. The points secured, the visitors' intensity inevitably dropped and PSV rallied towards the end as Danko Lazović forced Franco into action but it was too little, too late.