GERMANY’S ROBIN GOSENS claimed a late point for Atalanta in Tuesday’s 2-2 draw at 10-man Villarreal in the Champions League.
The 27-year-old’s effort in the final 10 minutes kept the Italians above Manchester United in Group F after the English club lost to Young Boys earlier in the day, in the first game of this season’s competition.
French midfielder Francis Coquelin was shown a red card in the closing moments for Villarreal, last season’s Europa League winners, after pulling Teun Koopmeiners’ shirt.
Villarreal coach Unai Emery started Argentina pair Geronimo Rulli and Juan Foyth after last weekend’s La Liga trip to Alaves was postponed following the extended international window for South American World Cup qualifiers.
Emery’s counterpart Gian Piero Gasperini made four changes from Saturday’s Serie A loss to Fiorentina as Juan Musso, making his competition debut aged 27, was picked ahead of Marco Sportiello in goal.
Atalanta, making just their third appearance in the Champions League, were rewarded for their early control of the game as Switzerland midfielder Remo Freuler opened the scoring after just six minutes.
Colombia forward Duvan Zapata held the ball up well in the box and his lay-off was slightly deflected by Etienne Capoue before Freuler hit home.
The Italians’ dominance of the game at Estadio de la Ceramica, witnessing its first Champions League group game since December 2011, stopped seven minutes before the break.
Villarreal left-back Alfonso Pedraza found midfielder Manu Trigueros inside the box and the Spaniard hammered home the equaliser for his second goal in as many games this season.
Gasperieni’s side started the second half as they did the first but Zapata could only hit the crossbar above Rulli, who was on the bench as Argentina’s game with Brazil was abandoned earlier this month, eight minutes after the interval.
Atalanta failed to make the pressure count and were punished with 17 minutes to play.
Freuler mis-controlled outside his box and Netherlands winger Arnaut Groeneveld pounced with a powerful half-volley.
Gasperini pushed his side to look for an equaliser, bringing Aleksei Miranchuk on for Matteo Pessina and the move paid off with seven minutes left.
Josip Ilicic hit a low cross into the feet of Russia attacker Miranchuk who softly guided the ball along to Gosens to beat Rulli comfortably.
Things worsened for Emery less than two minutes later as midfielder Coquelin was shown a second yellow card.
The visitors were unable to make the most of the extra man in midfield and Emery’s men even had a chance to claim a late three points as Gerard Moreno’s injury-time header was superbly saved by Musso.
Juventus got off to a winning start in the Champions League with a 3-0 cruise past Malmo on Tuesday which the Italians will hope kick-starts their season.
Juve came into their opening Group H fixture with just a point from their first three Serie A matches but Malmo were no match for Massimiliano Allegri’s side, who swept to victory in Sweden thanks to goals from Alex Sandro, Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata.
The thumping win puts Juve on top of the group, level on three points with European champions Chelsea who they face next in Turin in two weeks’ time.
“Winning matches leads to winning more matches. The other day we lost an important game missing five-six important players, and today we played really well in a match it was important to do well in,” Morata told Sky Italia.
“We needed to change the dynamic and make the other teams realise that when there are points on the table Juventus are a difficult team to play against.”
A one-sided contest was over by half-time in large part thanks to Juve’s South American internationals, who missed the 2-1 defeat at Napoli on Saturday due to their late returns from World Cup qualifying duty.
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Brazil full-back Sandro got the ball rolling with a superb stooping header midway through the first half following a cross from Colombia’s Juan Cuadrado.
Argentina attacker Dybala doubled the away side’s lead from the penalty spot just before the break following a Lasse Nielsen foul on Morata, who had huge amounts of joy playing on the shoulder of the hosts’ high defensive line.
The Spain forward was rewarded for his hard work almost straight afterwards when a long punt found its way to Adrien Rabiot, whose pass was dummied by Dybala and reached Morata.
The 28-year-old had the awareness to control the ball and spot Malmo goalkeeper Ismael Diawara rushing off his line before lifting a delicate finish in off the post.
The second half resembled a leisurely training match for Juve, who were rarely troubled by a Malmo side which had already had the stuffing knocked out of them.
Substitute Moise Kean was unlucky to not score the first goal of his return to Juve when he strayed just offside before rounding Diawara and slotting home with 20 minutes remaining.
Kean had another good chance well saved by Diawara in the dying moments of a performance which will please Juventus ahead of the visit of in-form AC Milan on Sunday.
Sevilla rode their luck in an eventful 1-1 draw against Salzburg.
The Austrians missed two of three first-half penalties, with Karim Adeyemi firing wide from the spot and Luka Sucic hitting the post having earlier converted Salzburg’s second penalty.
Ivan Rakitic levelled for Sevilla with another spot-kick before the interval. Youssef En-Nesyri was sent off early in the second period for the home side.
French champions Lille and Bundesliga leaders Wolfsburg drew 0-0 to leave all Group G teams level on one point.