Atletico Madrid starts off La Liga season by blanking Getafe 1-0
Atletico de Madrid striker Alvaro Morata (behind) fights with Getafe's Mauro Arambarri during their teams' match on Aug. 18, 2019, at Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid. EFE-EPA/Chema Moya
Atletico de Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente pressures Getafe's Angel Rodriguez during their teams' match on Aug. 18, 2019, at Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid. EFE-EPA/Rodrigo Jimenez
Getafe CF defender Bruno Gonzalez (R) in action during the LaLiga soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Getafe CF at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid, Spain, 18 August 2019. EFE-EPA/ Chema Moya
By Iñaki Dufour
Madrid, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- In its first outing of the 2019-2020 La Liga season, Atletico de Madrid maintained its toughness, ability and effectiveness on the pitch, downing Getafe with a powerful header 1-0 before 55,099 spectators at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
The winning tally came in the 23rd minute when newly-booked England international Kieran Trippier, knocked a great crossing shot over to Alvaro Morata, who headed the ball past the visitors' goalie, David Soria, for the tally.
It wasn't all a cakewalk, however, and Atletico had to fight to hold on to its advantage all the way through.
The capital side has undergone a series of transitions, with former coach, Antoine Griezmann, leaving for Barcelona at the end of last season, replaced by Argentina's Diego Simeone, and a bunch of new signees - including Joao Felix, acquired on a 126 million euro contract, along with Trippier, formerly of Tottenham.
The new Atletico is actually not so new, but it's definitely a different era after the departures of key elements such as Godin, Filipe, Juanfran and Griezmann. A new system for the team was implemented by Simeone - at least on this first game of the season, although it's got a vintage-Simeone look - with a 4-3-1-2 configuration, and with Diego Costa out on a sanction and eight new faces on the squad.
In what at first looked like a fortuitous circumstance for Madrid after Morata's tally, Getafe's Jorge Molina was ejected in the 36th minute after the yellow card he received for tripping Thomas Parley was changed to red after a VAR examination.
Just minutes later, however, before the break Atletico also found itself down a man when Renan Lodi got two yellows one after the other, the second one issued for apparently smacking Damian Suarez in the face while both were in the air vying for the ball.
Morata had a chance to notch another tally in the 56th minute when Joao Felix made a fabulous effort, taking the ball a full 60 meters down the field but winding up getting decked and a penalty called, and then Soria managed to make a great save when Morata tried for the penalty kick.
Felix left the pitch 10 minutes later with apparent leg problems, being substituted by Marcos Llorente.
Next up for Getafe will be Athletic Bilbao on Aug. 24, while Atletico will go up against the ostensibly non-threatening AtleticoLeganes on the 25th.
Atletico de Madrid: Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Gimenez, Lodi; Koke, Thomas (Hermoso, m. 62), Saul; Lemar (Vitolo, m. 73); and Joao Felix (Marcos Llorente, m. 66) and Morata.
Getafe: David Soria; Nyom, Bruno, Djene, Cabrera (Raul Carneros, m. 46); Damian Suarez (Angel, m. 63), Arambarri, Fajr, Cucurella; Mata (Enric Gallego, m. 79) and Jorge Molina.
Referee: Cuadra Fernandez (C. Balear), ejected Getafe's Jorge Molina in the 36th minute after consulting the VAR and awarding him a yellow card, and Madrid's Renan Lodi in the 41st minute after showing him a second yellow card.