Vigo, Spain, Aug 15 (EFE).- Atletico Madrid began defending its La Liga title with a 2-1 win over Celta de Vigo, a match in which Argentina’s Angel Correa scored both the capital squad’s goals at the Abanca Balaidos stadium before some 5,400 fans.
After a first half in which Atletico generally dominated play, the Galician hosts initially gained the initiative after evening up the score but later crumbled before the capital team’s continuing onslaught. Chacho Coudet’s boys fought hard right up until the end, although Diego Simeone’s team was clearly in the driver’s seat after their second tally in the 63rd minute.
Putting on considerable pressure, the Vigo team came out and virtually smothered Atletico’s offense early on, but it didn’t seem to make much difference to the Madrid men, with Thomas Lemar connecting with Correa at the edge of the area, whereupon the striker sent in a fabulous shot in the 22nd minute to take the road lead.
Celta bounced back early in the second half from the penalty spot, after referee Munuera Montero assessed the maximum penalty after a VAR review of an infraction by Marcos Llorente.
Iago Aspas faked Oblak out for the 1-1 score on the penalty kick in the 58th minute, but the locals’ joy only lasted a short time as Correa, this time on a nice cross, found the twine a second time for the 2-1 and the win.
Celta Vigo went hard for the draw, with Aspas driving for another score in the final stretch, but he misfired at an empty net after dribbling past Oblak and that was all she wrote, scorewise, although a mass brawl erupted in the last few minutes after a foul on Atletico striker Luis Suarez, who had come in to replace Correa right after his second tally.
After the brouhaha, red cards were handed to Hugo Mallo of Celta and Mario Hermoso of Atletico.
Celta de Vigo: Dituro; Hugo Mallo, Araujo, Fontan, Javi Galan (Baeza, min. 89); Tapia (Solari, min. 74); Brais Mendez (Beltran, min. 74), Denis Suarez, Nolito (Cervi, min. 61); Aspas and Santi Mina.
Atletico de Madrid: Oblak; Llorente (Lodi, min. 82), Savic, Gimenez, Hermoso, Saúl; Lemar (De Paul, min. 65), Kondogbia, Koke (Trippier, min. 65); Carrasco (Vrsaljko min. 96) and Correa (Luis Suarez, min. 65)