Atletico salvages 2-2 draw against newcomer Girona
GIRONA, Spain (AP) Newcomer Girona was minutes away from beating Atletico Madrid in a stunning debut in the Spanish league until Atletico scored twice after the sending off of Antoine Griezmann to salvage a 2-2 draw on Saturday.
Goals by Angel Correa in the 78th minute and Jose Gimenez in the 85th gave Atletico the draw after Girona forward Christian Stuani scored three minutes apart in the first half.
"It hurts because we were on our way to a memorable result," Girona coach Pablo Machin said. "We deserved more for the game that we played."
Around the league there was a minute of silence before matches for the victims of the recent attacks in Barcelona and the seaside resort of Cambrils. Fans also displayed banners. "Girona is with you," read one of the signs held by Girona fans, who were seeing their team play in the top-flight for the first time in the city of about 100,000 people just north of Barcelona.
Girona outplayed Atletico in the first half and seemed set for an historic victory when Griezmann was sent off in the 66th.
The France forward was shown a yellow card after diving inside the area. He was then issued the red after going toward the referee to complain.
"I'm leaving with a good feeling because of the way we played in the end," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. "In the second half we had a better dynamic on offense and that allowed us to create more scoring chances. I'm going to focus on the good things we did."
A feeder club to Manchester City, Girona trained in Manchester last month, and the team coached by Pep Guardiola, who is from the same region of Catalonia, played a preseason friendly against the Spanish club at the 13,000-capacity Montilivi Stadium in Girona.
Atletico hasn't lost its league opener since 2009, but a slow start last season kept it from contending for the title.
On Sunday, defending champion Real Madrid will open at Deportivo La Coruna, while Barcelona hosts Real Betis.
Sevilla struggled in its home debut and couldn't manage more than drawing with Espanyol 1-1.
Clement Lenglet put the hosts ahead in the first half but Leo Baptistao equalized less than 10 minutes later.
Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega was sent off in second-half injury time for complaining to the referee.
Sevilla was in contention for the title last season but couldn't do much in its first league game under coach Eduardo Berizzo, who replaced Jorge Sampaoli.
Real Sociedad scored twice eight minutes apart at the end of the game to earn a 3-2 come-from-behind win at Celta Vigo.
Juanmi netted in the 80th and William Jose converted an 88th-minute penalty to give Sociedad the victory.
Celta twice took the lead with goals by Uruguay forward Maxi Gomez, but Sociedad rallied. Sociedad's controversial winner came after a foul that Celta Vigo players said happened outside the area.
More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga
Updated August 19, 2017