La Liga 2015-16: Antoine Griezmann hands Atletico Madrid win over Las Palmas
Atletico Madrid kicked off their La Liga campaign with a 1-0 win over newly promoted Las Palmas, but failed to live up to pre-season expectations in a nervy display.
Madrid: Atletico Madrid kicked off their La Liga campaign with a 1-0 win over newly promoted Las Palmas, but failed to live up to pre-season expectations in a nervy display.
Antoine Griezmann got the only goal of the game with a deflected free-kick after 16 minutes.
However, Atletico struggled to create clear-cut opportunities and were nearly made to pay when David Simon headed against the bar for the visitors.
"We are very happy to win the first game at home which is always difficult," said Atletico boss Diego Simeone.
"In the first-half we had a lot of possession without much penetration.
"We want to have possession, but to score goals at the end and we have to work on that."
Atletico have unusually been the biggest spenders in Spain over the close season after a quiet summer in the transfer market for Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Jackson Martinez made his debut up front, whilst Filipe Luis returned at left-back after a difficult year at Chelsea.
However, it was last season`s top scorer Griezmann who again made the difference.
The French international had already seen one effort fly just wide of the target before his free-kick from the edge of the box clipped the Las Palmas wall and wrong-footed Raul Lizoain.
Simon had a great chance to level just before the hour mark as he was left unmarked at the back post from a corner but his header clipped the bar on its way behind.
Martinez`s underwhelming bow was then cut short as he was replaced by Fernando Torres.
However, the former Liverpool and Chelsea striker almost handed Las Palmas an equaliser as he directed another dangerous corner towards his own goal and forced Jan Oblak into a brilliant save to ensure all three points.
Atletico could have added to their added to their lead in the closing stages as Luis nearly marked his homecoming with a fine individual goal only to be denied by Lizoain.
The Las Palmas `keeper was beaten by another free-kick in stoppage time, but this time Koke`s effort came back off the post.
Goals were hard to come back across Spain with only two coming from the opening five matches of the campaign.
Valencia were made to pay for missing three clear-cut chances early on away to Rayo Vallecano as they were held 0-0 at Vallecas.
David Moyes`s Real Sociedad could also only manage an uneventful 0-0 stalemate away at Deportivo la Coruna in a repeat of the result in the former Manchester United coach`s first game in charge of the Basques last November.
Espanyol were the other side to get off to a winning start against Getafe thanks to Salva Sevilla`s fine free-kick.
Malaga and 10-man Sevilla played out a 0-0 draw on Friday night.