Atletico produce another comeback to beat Feyenoord

AFP , Wednesday 4 Oct 2023

Alvaro Morata hit a brace as Atletico Madrid twice came from behind to beat Feyenoord 3-2 and move top of Champions League Group E on Wednesday.

Atletico Madrid s Angel Correa, left, controls the ball as Feyenoord s Yankuba Minteh tries to stop
Atletico Madrid s Angel Correa, left, controls the ball as Feyenoord s Yankuba Minteh tries to stop him during the Champions League Group E soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Feyenoord at the Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. AP


Spanish striker Morata has excelled this season, becoming a key figure for Diego Simeone's side in attack, alongside Antoine Griezmann, who netted Atletico's other goal.

The Rojiblancos were inconsistent but moments of quality from Morata and Griezmann proved the difference in an end-to-end clash at the Metropolitano.

Atletico, knocked out in the group stage last year, were left with a familiar sinking feeling at the end of their opening group game at Lazio after the opposition goalkeeper headed home in unlikely fashion to deny them victory at the death.

That disappointment increased the pressure on them to beat Feyenoord at home and take control of the group, with any other result likely to cause them big problems down the line.

Simeone was without several players because of injury but acknowledged beforehand what mattered was only the result, regardless of who was fit or not.

Feyenoord started brightly and took the lead after just seven minutes when Ayase Ueda's shot, saved by Jan Oblak, ricocheted in off Atletico defender Mario Hermoso, who was sliding in to stop the initial effort.

Japan international Ueda was starting in the stead of Feyenoord's suspended top scorer Santiago Gimenez.

Morata pulled Atletico back level with a smart finish at the near post after Feyenoord defender Mats Wieffer diverted the ball into his path and away from the offside Saul Niguez.

The visitors again took the lead in the 34th minute when David Hanko blasted home from close range after his first attempt from Calvin Stengs' crossed free-kick was saved by Oblak.

However Atletico hit back through Griezmann with an acrobatic effort hooked over his own head to level the game at the break.

At the weekend Atletico came from two goals down in La Liga to beat Cadiz 3-2, and they nosed ahead of Feyenoord by that scoreline early in the second half.

Morata sent them in front when he poked home from Nahuel Molina's inviting cross from the right flank, his seventh goal in all competitions this season.

Feyenoord came close to an equaliser when Igor Peixao sent an effort narrowly wide, leaving Oblak scrambling as the game opened up, but the hosts held on to triumph.

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