Diego Costa, Jose Gimenez inspire Atletico Madrid fightback at Monaco
Atletico Madrid got their Champions League campaign off to the perfect start as they beat Monaco 2-1 away in their first group stage game.
It had looked as if the club's rotten form was going to continue when Samuel Grandsir put Monaco ahead against the run of play after a comedy of errors from Saul Niguez and Angel Correa.
However Diego Costa equalised shortly after, before Jose Gimenez thumped home a header on the stroke of half-time.
The second half was largely a non-event, with a professional Rojiblancos outfit keeping the home side at arm's length and comfortably, deservedly, securing three precious points on the road to the Metropolitano next June.
The character the side showed to fight back from going 1-0 down was encouraging. It would have been easy for them to sulk.
The shambolic nature of Monaco's goal will be cause for concern.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- The suspended Diego Simeone made a big call in leaving Thomas Lemar out, but it was a correct one. More like it from the boss.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jan Oblak, 6 -- Still looks a bit shell-shocked that the midfield and defence are more sieve-like in front of him. Could he have done better with the goal? Perhaps, but it was the errors in the build-up that resulted in the home side scoring, not him.
DF Juanfran 6 -- Did the little that was required in defence and got forward with gusto, if not quality. Linked well with Correa in front of him, but needs to produce better crosses, which too often do not find their target.
DF Jose Gimenez, 8 -- Made a mockery of Simeone's decision to start Stefan Savic ahead of him in the first three games of the La Liga season. Won his battles with Radamel Falcao, won big headers towards the end when his side needed him to and scored the winner to boot.
DF Diego Godin, 7 -- Always looks more calm and composed next to Gimenez and so it proved here. Helped his compatriot shackle Falcao and had a goal disallowed in the first minute at the other end.
DF Lucas Hernandez, 6 -- Solid in defence and got forward whenever he could. Monaco's goal came from a cross down his side that he might have blocked, but he cannot legislate for what happens after.
MF Angel Correa, 6 -- Always looking to get involved, however that was to his detriment when he inadvertently set up Monaco's goal with a heavy touch in defence. Won the corner that made it 2-1.
MF Saul Niguez, 5 -- An absolute clanger for the Monaco goal as he dallied on the ball and had his pocket picked by Falcao. Moved out wide as the game progressed and he continues to be unable to replicate his impressive Spain form at club level.
MF Rodrigo, 6 -- Sat in front of the back four and proved a useful screen, although he was slightly shaky early on and allowed a couple of driving Monaco runs to sail past him. Improved after the break.
MF Koke 8 -- His best game of the season thus far. Played the ball into Antoine Griezmann, who in turn fed Costa to make it 1-1, while it was his corner that Gimenez nodded home to give Atletico the lead. Covered every blade of grass and eventually moved centrally, such was his influence on the game.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 8 -- Was quick to blow his own trumpet in the buildup to the game but lived up to his words with a stellar display. Set up Costa for a chance he dragged just wide, before his delicious first-time volleyed pass fed the Spaniard to make it 1-1.
FW Diego Costa, 8 -- Went close from an angle early on before burying his one-on-one chance for the equaliser. His running battle with Kamil Glik was clash-of-the-titans material and invariably it was the Colchoneros' striker who came out on top, fighting for everything throughout.
MF Thomas Lemar (for Correa), 6 -- Came on with 25 to go, but with Atleti content to defend he could not get himself too involved in the match.