Atletico Madrid stay true to old habits in new stadium and win late
It could not have happened any other way: Atletico Madrid scrapped and battled their way to a 1-0 win over Malaga in the first game at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium on Saturday night.
In front of a full house in their new home, it was same old Atleti initially, with the visitors frustrating their blunt hosts. However, the second half was a different story as Los Rojiblancos dominated.
After wasting a couple of chances, the poster boy for the new Wanda venture, Antoine Griezmann, popped up with the winner as they held on. It may well be a new stadium, but one thing for sure: It is the same Atleti side and that is why the fans love them. More of the same, please.
A goal, a win, a clean sheet and an amazing atmosphere at the Wanda. Happy days.
Atletico dominated possession and territory but the visiting keeper was severely underworked. And they gave up a couple of clear-cut chances on the break.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Diego Simeone was perhaps a bit cautious given the visitors are bottom of the league, but his half-time changes showed real attacking intent and they got the job done.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jan Oblak, 8 -- Made a great save to keep the scores level as Malaga produced a rare counter in the first period. He was largely a spectator for the second 45 but showed his worth with a smart stop in the final minute to ensure the three points.
DF Juanfran, 6 -- Still does not look quite at his best. Did what was required defensively but the final ball going forward was lacking.
DF Lucas Hernandez, 8 -- Impresses every time he plays in the middle. Carried the ball out with confidence and is laying down a claim for a starting berth.
DF Diego Godin, 7 -- Solid. Won all his individual battles and was a threat at the other end from set pieces.
DF Filipe Luis, 7 -- Dangerous in attack. Lucky to escape injury when he was pole-axed late on.
MF Koke, 7 -- Denied by a good save just after the break as Atleti cranked up the pressure.
MF Thomas Partey, 6 -- Looked to link play and get involved during the first period and covered a lot of ground. Subbed at the break as Atleti looked to attack.
MF Gabi, 7 -- Led the side out for the first time at the new ground and looked the proudest man there. Recycled possession well and broke up what little attacks Malaga threatened.
MF Saul Niguez, 6 -- Not his most productive night but nevertheless was all over the pitch. Saw a long-range thunderbolt well kept out just after the break.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 8 -- It just had to be him. The side needed someone to break through and, as it was so often at the Calderon, so it was him at the Wanda. Not his best night but he proved the match winner once again. Hopefully that kick-starts his season.
FW Angel Correa, 7 -- Snatched at a volley from the edge of the box in the first half. Made up for it, though, as he produced a wonderful run and cross to tee up Griezmann for the goal.
FW Yannick Carrasco, 6 -- The first thing he did was beat three men with majestic skill before scuffing a shot wide. Par for the course as he flattered to deceive again.
FW Fernando Torres, 5 -- A nice moment for El Nino to come on but, truth be told, he did not do all that much.
Joseph Walker covers Atletico Madrid for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @Joe_in_espana.