Aguero shines for Atletico
Atletico notch second group win
By Carla Hilton. Last Updated: October 1, 2008 10:02pm
Aguero: A constant threat
Sergio Aguero stole the show in Madrid as Atletico went top of Group D on goal difference with a 2-1 win over Marseille despite a poor defensive display.
Aguero, who opened the scoring very early on in the game, was an inspiration to his team-mates and a constant threat to the French back-four who were no match for his pace and impressive style of play.
Despite their uncomfortable performance at the back, Atletico held on to their early lead to notch their second win in the group.
The deadlock was broken after just four minutes at Vicente Calderon as Aguero converted from a long ball in spectacular fashion. The 20-year-old shattered what seemed a decent start for Marseille with an outstanding touch around Elamin Erbate before eventually sending keeper Steve Mandanda the wrong way to score his third goal in two games.
Their lead was to be short lived though as sloppy defending gifted Marseille an equaliser on 16 minutes. Laurent Bonnart with a good run down the right only required a quick glance across to find the head of Mamadou Niang. Unmarked, the 28-year-old put in a spectacular leap to plant the ball right in between keeper Leo Franco and the near post.
It was a fast-paced first half and not without drama as Raul Garcia dampened French hopes again, converting a nothing ball to score his first goal for Atletico.
The free-kick from Mariano Pernia on the right did not go above waist high but was pacey enough for Garcia to tap into the far corner to restore Atletico's lead in Madrid midway through the first half.
Despite their lead, Cesar Ferrando's side showed signs of weakness at the back and did not seem at all comfortable when handling set-pieces. The back-four seemed non-existent on a number of occasions leaving Niang, in particular, in far too much space. He could have easily brought Marseille level in the first half with a couple of adventurous shots through lacklustre defending.
From then on there seemed to be somewhat of a lull to proceedings with neither side creating too many chances. An extravagant back-heeled ball from Maxi Rodriguez almost brought the game to life again but veered wide of the far post. It was a nice ball in though by Aguero who maintained his constant threat to the French back-four.
Minutes later he paired up with Florent Sinama-Pongolle to almost build on Atletico's lead. The pair executed a number of perfectly timed passes before Pongolle curled the ball towards the top of the net and almost sent the keeper the wrong way.
Marseille looked a tired and frustrated outfit in the closing stages and struggled to pose a threat to Atletico who seemed content and alert to their opponents' tactics. Niang looked to break on the right with 10 minutes remaining but wasted a good opportunity for the French with a poor ball into the side of the netting.
He almost made up for that disappointing effort with a long range shot just minutes later. Atletico's defence seemed all over the place as Niang chested the ball down before striking left-footed just fractions wide of the right post.
After a few nervous moments for Atletico the referee blew for full-time leaving a frustrated Marseille with their second defeat in the group stages.
|Atlético de Madrid||Team Statistics||Marseille|
|2||1st Half Goals||1|
|7||Shots on Target||2|
|8||Shots off Target||7|
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