Atletico Madrid 2-3 Aris Salonika: Report

01 December 2010 10:31
Atletico on the brink Reigning champions Atletico Madrid were left staring at possible Europa League elimination after slumping to a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Aris Thessaloniki. Aris took the lead with the first chance of the match through Sergio Koke but Atletico, who would have been sure of a place in the knockout stages with a win, hit back with quickfire goals from prolific strike duo Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero to go 2-1 ahead. However, the visiting Greek outfit stunned their hosts with two goals in the second half to take the spoils, Koke levelling from the penalty spot before Nikos Lazaridis slammed in an 81st-minute winner. The result means Aris - who also beat Atletico at home - are now level on seven points with the holders in second place in Group B, four points behind Bayer Leverkusen, who qualified for the last 32 this evening. In the final round of matches, Atletico must travel to Leverkusen knowing they need a better result than Aris manage at home to already-eliminated Rosenborg. Aris have never lost in 23 European matches over 40 years at their Kleanthis Vikelidis stadium. Atletico, who suffered a 3-2 home defeat to Espanyol at the weekend in La Liga, could hardly have had a worse start tonight as Aris took the lead after barely 60 seconds. Home goalkeeper David De Gea failed to collect a cross and, as he raced out to the edge of the box to try and claim possession, he was beaten by Aris midfielder Costas Mendrinos who launched a shot goalward. Mendrinos' effort hit the crossbar but the rebound fell kindly for Koke to slot into an empty net. That was a setback for Atletico, but they did not take long to turn the match on its head with Forlan and Aguero both scoring to put the hosts in front with just 16 minutes gone. Aguero also tested visiting goalkeeper Michail Sifakis, who then denied Jose Antonio Reyes from a free-kick as Atletico dominated the first half following Aris' early breakthrough. Quique Sanchez Flores' side then came agonisingly close to increasingly their lead 30 seconds after half-time when Aris defender Kristi Vangeli, in attempting to cut out Tomas Ujfalusi's cross, sliced the ball onto the underside of his own crossbar. However, the ball did not cross the line and five minutes alter Aris drew level from the penalty spot. The referee spotted Atletico defender Alvaro Dominguez tugging the shirt of Lazaridis at a corner, and from the resulting spot-kick Koke drilled his shot down the centre of the goal as De Gea dived to his right. Despite that, Atletico still looked the more likely winners as the game progressed and Forlan drew a good save out of Sifakis in the 61st minute. The champions would end up with nothing, though, as they conceded a shock winner to Aris with nine minutes remaining. De Gea did well to deny Aris on a couple of occasions during a goalmouth scramble but when the ball ran loose to Lazaridis near the penalty spot his thumping drive flew into the back of the net via an Atletico defender.

Atletico Madrid 2-3 Aris Salonika: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game as it happened.

Source: DSG