Atletico lose, Juventus draw in Europa League openers

08:45, September 17, 2010      

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Defending champions Atletico Madrid suffered a miserable start to its title defense on Thursday when they lost 1-0 at Aris, while Juventus also got off to a shaky start in a 3-3 draw with Poznan Lech in the opening round of the Europa League group stage on Thursday.

Aris Salonika Sergio Koke challenges Atletico Madrid's Mario Suarez (R) during their Europa League Group B soccer match in Thessaloniki September 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Spaniard Javito struck an unstoppable volley in the 59th minute for the Greek side, who kept their unbeaten European home record intact and burst Atletico's early-season bubble.

Atletico's confidence has been sky high after beating Inter Milan in the UEFA Super Cup and climbing to the top of the Primera Division table after winning their opening two league games, but they were brought back to earth at the Kleanthis Vikelidis stadium.

Juve's Brazil World Cup villain Felipe Melo gave away an early penalty as the Italians fell two goals behind with Artjoms Rudnevs grabbing a hat-trick for the visitors including a stoppage-time equalizer in their Group A match.

Felipe Melo, who enhanced his reputation for reckless tackling by getting sent off in Brazil's World Cup quarterfinal defeat by Netherlands, produced a familiarly clumsy challenge to concede a 13th-minute penalty, converted by Rudnevs.

Aris Salonika Javito (R) celebrates his goal with Kristi Vangeli (L) during their Europa League Group B soccer match against Atletico Madrid in Thessaloniki September 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The Latvian was on target again on the half hour, snapping up a rebound, but Juve equalized when defender Giorgio Chiellini scored either side of halftime before Alessandro del Piero put them ahead in the 68th minute with a superb left-foot strike.

However, the Poles had the last laugh when Rudnevs equalized in the second minute of added time.

Source: Xinhua


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