Atletico Madrid 2-0 Panathinaikos (5-2 agg.): Aguero Seals Qualification For Los Colchoneros

Atletico The Argentine wonderkid produced a rare spark of quality to seal the Spaniards’ progress, eliminating the sorry Shamrocks.

Atletico Madrid did exactly what was required of them at the Vicente Calderon this evening, defeatingPanathinaikos to comfortably progress to the Champions League group stage.

An own goal by Greek defender Loukas Vyntra and a solo effort from Sergio Aguero were enough to clinch a straightforward win for Abel Resino’s men, and add the Spanish side to the draw in France on Friday.

Almost before the Greek outfit had managed to settle into their stride, Atletico had effectively extinguished their hopes of progressing by netting the opening goal.

A deep ball into the area found the boot of Diego Forlan, who drilled a low shot across the six yard line, and although there was no threat, defender
Loukas Vyntra completely lost his bearings and sliced the ball horribly past Galinovic and into his own net.

It was precisely the start that Henk Ten Cate’s side would have been desperate to avoid, and if they were up against the odds prior to kick-off, their task had become even more unattainable.

To their credit, though, the Shamrocks pressed forward and managed to trouble Los Colchoneros’ back line. Had record signing Djibril Cisse shown more composure when slipped in on goal, he could have given ‘keeper Sergio Asenjo a proper test, but his scuffed effort was akin to a decent opportunity he missed in Athens a week ago.

Atletico understandably were operating in second gear, with a cushion of away goals and their early strike knocking the momentum out of the contest. It would have been exactly what Abel Resino would have wished for, but his players from then on were almost certainly playing within themselves.

Their lackadaisical attitude was highlighted seconds before half-time, as defender Vyntra compounded his dreadful evening to somehow head over the bar from underneath the crossbar, following a free-kick delivery into the area. The Atletico back-line were completely static as Vyntra hosted in behind, but his effort was woeful, and effectively put paid to Panathinaikos’ hopes of a comeback.

The second half saw the home side look more interested in giving their supporters a taste of their attacking flair, but didn’t quite click into top gear.

Diego Forlan missed a decent chance with his head, nodding straight at the goalkeeper, then drilling a shot wide of the post – his radar was slightly off tonight – as Atletico looked to make the scoreline more convincing.

The referee then saw fit to hand Djibril Cisse a straight red card for a midfield lunge that was ill-timed more than malicious, and as he trudged from the pitch he took the Greeks’ chances of qualification with him.

And in the closing stages
Sergio Aguero made the admission fee worthwhile with a goal that displayed strength, pace and finishing ability.

He turned neatly 30 yards out before executing a lightning turn of pace that left all in his wake, before firing a low shot into the corner and sealing the victory. Goalkeeper Galinovic may feel he could have did slightly better with the shot, but it took nothing away from Aguero, who is every inch a player who deserves to play on the biggest stage.

Thanks to Atletico’s aggregate win, he will be afforded the opportunity to do just that, and allow his already impressive stock to rise even further.


~ by footballdirecta on August 26, 2009.

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