Alvaro Morata header seals narrow victory in feisty LaLiga opener


Alvaro Morata scored and also saw a penalty saved in a 1-0 win for Atletico Madrid over Getafe as both sides had a man sent off at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday night.

Atletico handed a debut to €120 million signing Joao Felix, the replacement for Antoine Griezmann, and also a first competitive start to Kieran Trippier in this first La Liga fixture of the season.

The former Tottenham full-back got forward well down the right in the first half and should have done better after he was freed by Saul Niguez early on, hitting his low cross straight at Getafe goalkeeper David Soria when Felix and Morata were waiting in the middle for a simple finish.

But Trippier made amends after 23 minutes, when he curled a perfect cross into the box for Morata to attack and the former Chelsea striker headed past Soria to give Atletico the lead.

Drama followed later in the half as Getafe striker Jorge Molina was shown the red card for a foul on Thomas Partey, which was upgraded from a yellow after the referee ran over to the side of the pitch to watch the action on the VAR screen.

Atletico were not a man up for very long, though, as Renan Lodi picked up two yellows inside a minute for fouls on Mauro Arambarri and Damian Suarez and was given his marching orders shortly before half-time.

The officials went off to a chorus of boos and whistles at the interval from both sides as the two decisions appeared extremely harsh.

Atleti were the better team again in the second half and should have wrapped up the win when Joao Felix embarked on a remarkable run from his own half, beat three players and went down in the area after a challenge from Bruno Gonzalez after 56 minutes.

Morata stepped up to take the kick, but his shot was pushed around the post by David Soria, who also saved a Stefan Savic header from the resulting corner.

Simeone’s side had the better of the final stages, even after Joao Felix went off injured, but Angel Rodriguez rattled the crossbar from distance with three minutes left and the home fans were eager to hear the whistle.

Vitolo then wasted a golden chance on a breakaway attack in the 89th minute, losing control of the ball when he was one on one with Soria and allowing the goalkeeper to save.

But Atletico prevailed through four minutes of added time to secure a hard-fought victory against a stubborn Getafe side to make it a happy start to La Liga for the Rojiblancos.