Griezmann leads Atlético to Galatasaray win
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Galatasaray 0-2 Atlético Madrid
Antoine Griezmann struck twice in the opening 25 minutes as Atleti eased to victory despite an improved second-half showing from the hosts.
Article top media content
- Atlético Madrid open Group C with comfortable win in Istanbul
- Antoine Griezmann doubles his tally of UEFA Champions League goals
- Galatasaray's winless European run stretches to nine matches
- Home coach Hamza Hamzaoğlu makes tactical substitution after 32 minutes
- Next games: Astana v Galatasaray, Atlético v Benfica (30 September)
Antoine Griezmann marked his return to form with two goals in the opening 25 minutes as Atlético Madrid eased to an opening-day victory at Galatasaray.
Griezmann had managed two goals in 15 UEFA Champions League appearances prior to this Group C clash but doubled that tally in no time as the Spanish visitors hit the ground running in Istanbul.
The opener came on 18 minutes as the Frenchman met Juanfran's low ball with a fine first-time finish. Griezmann had rather less to do for his second, hooking in from point-blank range after Diego Godín rose above Jason Denayer at the far post to nod Koke's cross back across goal.
Galatasaray had conceded four in their last two home games in the competition and a repeat was on the cards. Hamza Hamzaoğlu acted swiftly, bringing on another forward in Umut Bulut at the expense of midfielder Emre Çolak and immediately his side had more balance.
Bulut twice threatened to halve the deficit before the break, with Denayer going closer still with a header that flashed centimetres wide. Galatasaray continued to press after the restart yet were never quite able to break through Atlético's rearguard.
Instead, the Rojiblancos posed danger on the break. Denayer's block denied Saúl Ñíguez and Griezmann might have had a hat-trick but Jackson Martínez opted for goal himself. Still, having managed just one goal in 12 games going into tonight, Griezmann will be satisfied with two. As will Atleti.
Key player: Antoine Griezmann
It took Griezmann the space of eight minutes to double his UEFA Champions League goals tally with his quickfire double. His mobility and pace caused the hosts problems all night. He was impeccable at exploiting gaps in the Galatasaray defence and converted his opportunities. Now can he do it against Benfica?
Atlético thrive on intense situations
If the Colchoneros started last autumn's campaign with a defeat at Olympiacos, Diego Simeone's men looked determined to avoid making the same mistake twice. An electric atmosphere at Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi never fazed Atlético and their passing was crisp and accurate from the off.
Galatasaray's finishing lets them down
The hosts were determined to erase the bitter memories of last season's UEFA Champions League campaign and looked lively up front. In the end they had over 20 attempts on goal but few found the target and none really concerned Jan Oblak.
Diego Simeone, Atlético coach
We took control of the midfield and finished the game in the first half with two goals. There are so many matches ahead but it is always important to win the first game of any competition. We lost our first game in the Champions League last season and made too much effort to finish first thereafter – victory here gives us an advantage.
Hamza Hamzaoğlu, Galatasaray coach
After conceeding early in the first half, our resistance was broken. We were more effective in the second period after making substitutions but it is not easy to recover from 2-0 down. We still have five more games, it is not all over yet. Everybody just needs to stay patient. We will learn from our mistakes and probably play 4-4-2 from now on.