Football 2 years ago

Victory stun Atletico in Geelong

  • Victory stun Atletico in Geelong

    GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JULY 31: Nick Ansell of the Victory celebrates a goal during the match between Melbourne Victory and Atletico de Madrid at Simonds Stadium on July 31, 2016 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Melbourne Victory have claimed their second heavyweight European scalp in the space of a week, defeating Atletico Madrid 1-0 at Simonds Stadium.

Nick Ansell's 44th minute header was enough to earn Victory a stunning result, coming after last Saturday night's penalty shoot-out win over Juventus.

Atletico fielded a largely second-string team in Geelong after giving senior players maximum minutes on Friday night against Tottenham Hotspur.

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It meant the 16,652-strong crowd were denied a glimpse of Fernando Torres in action, but saw an entertaining match nonetheless.

Victory gloveman Lawrence Thomas was kept busy by Diego Simeone's team, which produced plenty of half-chances without cutting through.

Despite the result, Victory's day out was soured by a knee injury to winger Mitch Austin.

The new recruit was floored by Atletico defender Emiliano Velazquez inside the match's opening 30 seconds, struggling on for another 24 minutes before his substitution.

While Victory will await news on his fitness, coach Kevin Muscat saw plenty to like in Geelong.

New defensive signing Alan Baro performed well on his starting debut, with Leigh Broxham and Rashid Mahazi helping to quell the La Liga giants.

Victory had few opportunities but seized their chance when it did come, from a foul on Ben Khalfallah.

In essence, they out-Atletico-ed Atletico.

Muscat's side soaked up the pressure from the young touring team and rebounded to great effect.

Ben Khalfallah's expert delivery found Ansell unmarked at the back post, where he headed past Slovenian international goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

The contest was transformed on the hour mark, when Victory coach Kevin Muscat made six changes with Wednesday's FFA Cup match in mind.

Atletico still couldn't find a way through, giving Victory another European scalp.

The match concluded the International Champions Cup series of fixtures, which will return in 2017 despite a generally poor reception.

Crowds were around half of 2015's inaugural event, when Cristiano Ronaldo's Real Madrid were the headline act.

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