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Atlético floored by Udinese sucker punch

Udinese Calcio 2-0 Club Atlético de Madrid
Mehdi Benatia and Antonio Floro Flores scored in the closing moments as Francesco Guidolin's side snatched the Group I spoils in Udine.

Atlético floored by Udinese sucker punch
Atlético floored by Udinese sucker punch ©UEFA.com

Udinese Calcio moved top of UEFA Europa League Group I after snatching a late win against Club Atlético de Madrid.

The visitors enjoyed the lion's share of the chances at the Stadio Friuli yet were undone by goals in the closing moments from Mehdi Benatia and Antonio Floro Flores.

Francesco Guidolin's side might have scored as early as the second minute, but Floro Flores, making his first start of the season, headed over from six metres. With Antonio Di Natale rested in attack, Udinese ceded possession all too often as they sought out Floro Flores with the long ball.

The Spanish side soon began to hoard possession, as Juanfran and Pizzi proved prominent in central midfield and Filipe Luis made gains down the left flank. Midway through the half, Atlético had their first shot at goal when a sweeping move involving Paulo Assunção and Gabi sent Falcao through on the right. The former FC Porto danger man fired too high.

The hosts threatened little, meanwhile, save for the occasional hurtle down the left by Pablo Armero. Thibaut Courtois was finally called into action on 58 minutes, clawing the ball away at full stretch when Benatia glanced Armero's free-kick toward the top corner.

It was a rare foray forward from the Zebrette, though, Gabi restoring the established pattern with another thumping effort that cleared Samir Handanovič's bar. Floro Flores seemed to have squandered a last chance when he dived headlong to send another Armero cross wide, but then, for the third UEFA Europa League match running, Udinese scored a late goal.

Benatia controlled Diego Fabbrini's shot before scuffing it past Courtois from eight metres. The Colchoneros had to throw everything into the search for an equaliser and were promptly hit by another sucker punch, Floro Flores collecting Emmanuel Badu's pass in the fourth minute of added time and firing in.

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