By 90Min
August 19, 2017

Atletico Madrid came from 2-0 down to rescue a point against newly-promoted Girona in their first game of the new La Liga season on Saturday.

The hosts were quickly in the ascendancy, leading in the first-half thanks to a quick brace from Uruguayan striker Christian Stuani.

They looked set to secure an impressive victory as the second half progressed, but despite seeing Antoine Griezmann dismissed, goals from Angel Correa and Jose Maria Gimenez helped a complete what had seemed an unlikely comeback.

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It was a promising start to the game for the newcomers in Spain's top flight, who were commendably composed for a side playing the first La Liga match in their history.

Girona, controlling possession and dictating the tempo, looked the most dangerous of the two teams, while Atletico appeared to be playing within themselves, reserved despite their status as clear favourites. And with the first real opportunity of the game after 22 minutes, former Middlesbrough forward Stuani rose highest to meet a cross and guide a powerful header into the bottom corner to put the hosts in front.

It was a dream start for the Catalan club, and it soon became something of a fairy tale. A floated free-kick was nodded across goal and fell to Stuani, who added his second minutes after opening the scoring.

The visitors, notorious for their compact and often impervious defence, looked decidedly shaky at the back, and offered next to nothing going forward in a poor first-half display.

Minutes before the break, Girona nearly scored their third, Jan Oblak, off-balance and back-peddling, just about clawing a mis-hit Portu effort off the line.

There was a notable increase in urgency in the early stages of the second-half from Atletico, but other than an audacious Griezmann overhead kick, creativity was still lacking.

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Girona might have expected a barrage of pressure from their more reputable opposition as the game progressed and Diego Simeone's side looked to reduce the deficit. Instead they looked comfortable, and with 25 minutes remaining found themselves with a man advantage. Griezmann was deemed to have dived under the challenge of goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz, picked up a booking, and then another immediately after for descent. 

Atletico's attacking prowess, which had already been effectively stunted by Girona, was further weakened by the loss of their prolific Frenchman. But the visitors pulled a goal back with just over ten minutes remaining, after a superb solo run and powerful effort on the edge of the box from Correa beat the outstretched Iraizoz.

For the first time in an historic evening there was a hint of nervousness about Girona, and Atletico capitalised. A free-kick into the box was met by centre-back Giminez, who beat the onrushing Iraizoz to the ball.

The disadvantage of losing arguably their most important player appeared to have worked in Atletico's favour. Los Colchoneros were in the ascendancy as the game entered its final stages, but it was Girona that had the final opportunity, drawing an exceptional reflex save from Oblak in injury time in a tumultuous season opener.

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