EINDHOVEN, Netherlands — Saul Niguez scored late in the first half Tuesday as last season’s losing Champions League finalist Atletico Madrid opened this season’s campaign with a tense 1-0 win at PSV Eindhoven.
The match in Eindhoven was a repeat of last year’s Champions League round of 16 clash that Atletico won on penalties in Madrid after both legs ended 0-0.
Tuesday’s match never looked like finishing goalless with both teams pressing forward in their Group D opener.
Luuk de Jong looked to have given his team the lead in the fifth minute but referee Martin Atkinson disallowed the PSV captain’s headed effort, apparently because of a push by Hector Moreno as he headed the ball back to De Jong.
“We scored a perfectly good goal that was disallowed,” PSV coach Phillip Cocu said.
Saul broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute when he calmly fired a left foot volley just inside the post after PSV failed to clear a corner.
PSV could have leveled in first-half injury time after Luciano Narsingh fell in the area and was fortunate to be awarded a penalty, but Jan Oblak dived to his left to block Andres Guardado’s spot kick. PSV has now missed six of its last nine penalties.
Cocu also lamented a decision by the match officials not to allow midfielder Davy Proepper back onto the field in time to take the penalty because he had blood on his shirt from a head injury.
Diego Simeone’s side looked happy to protect its lead after the break, with Tiago coming on for Nicolas Gaitan in the 61st to play a holding midfield role.
PSV substitute Gaston Pereiro had a great chance to equalize in injury time but directed his free header straight at Oblak.