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Lazaridis strikes as Aris stun holders Atlético

Club Atlético de Madrid 2-3 Aris Thessaloniki FC
Nikos Lazaridis fired in a late winner to secure a first victory in Spain for a Greek club and leave Hector Cúper's side above the holders.

Lazaridis strikes as Aris stun holders Atlético
Lazaridis strikes as Aris stun holders Atlético ©UEFA.com

Aris Thessaloniki FC kept their UEFA Europa League round of 32 hopes alive after Nikos Lazaridis's late strike earned Hector Cúper's side a 3-2 triumph over Club Atlético de Madrid.

Having opened their Group B campaign by claiming the scalp of the holders, Aris were dreaming of a repeat when Sergio Koke struck in the second minute. Atlético rallied and were soon ahead thanks to goals from Diego Forlán and Sergio Agüero, although the pendulum swung again with Koke's penalty and Lazaridis's 81st-minute winner securing a first win on Spanish soil for a Greek club.

Aris's bright start came about after David de Gea's error allowed Kostas Mendrinos a shot at goal which bounced back off the bar and into the path of the grateful Koke. There was little time to celebrate as Forlán also profited from a rebound off the woodwork, Simão having rattled it with a curling shot from the edge of the area.

Agüero's third goal in as many European outings helped Atlético take the lead soon afterwards, the Argentinian international latching on to Álvaro Domínguez's defence-splitting pass before sliding the ball past the backtracking Michalis Sifakis in the Aris goal.

Looking to seal a third consecutive group triumph, Quique Sánchez Flores's team burst out of the blocks after the restart and were almost handed a third when Kristi Vangjeli directed Tomáš Ujfaluši's centre against the underside of his own crossbar.

Against the run of play it was the visitors who equalised, Koke smashing in a penalty after Domínguez had felled Lazaridis. The stage was set for a dramatic finale and after De Gea and Diego Godín both failed to deal with an Aris corner, Lazaridis fired in to grab all three points.

Aris now entertain Rosenborg BK on Matchday 6 needing to equal Atlético's result away to section winners Bayer 04 Leverkusen in order to pip the holders to a last-32 spot.

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