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Victory stun Atletico in Geelong

AAP logoAAP 31/07/2016 By Ben Mckay

Melbourne Victory have claimed a second heavyweight European scalp in a week, defeating a second-string Atletico Madrid 1-0 at Simonds Stadium.

Nick Ansell's 44th minute header from Fahid Ben Khalfallah's free kick was enough to earn Victory the stunning result, coming after last Saturday night's penalty shoot-out win over Juventus.

Atletico were without many of their senior names after their exertions against Tottenham on Friday night, less than 48 hours prior.

It meant the 16,652-strong crowd were denied a glimpse of Fernando Torres in action, but saw an entertaining match nonetheless.

Victory gloveman Lawrence Thomas was kept busy by Diego Simeone's team, which produced plenty of half-chances without cutting through.

But Victory coach Kevin Muscat saw plenty to like in Geelong.

New defensive signing Alan Baro performed well on his starting debut, with Leigh Broxham and Rashid Mahazi helping to quell the La Liga giants.

"I asked for some progress and I thought we got that this afternoon," said Muscat.

"We slowly started finding the solutions. In the second half I thought we controlled the game and dominated both with the ball and without."

Atletico had the lion's share of chances on goal but Victory cashed in on their best moment from a foul on Ben Khalfallah.

In essence, they out-Atletico-ed Atletico.

Muscat's side soaked up the pressure from the young touring team and rebounded to great effect.

Ben Khalfallah's expert delivery found Ansell unmarked at the back post, where he headed past Slovenian international goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

The contest was transformed on the hour mark, when Muscat made six changes with Wednesday's FFA Cup match in mind.

Atletico still couldn't find a way through, giving Victory another win over a touring side.

Simeone said he was happy with the performance and experience from their whirlwind tour of Melbourne.

"The overall experience has been very good. We were treated very well," he said through a translator.

"We've experienced good grounds, good crowd participation and got what we came for."

Muscat cleared Mitch Austin of serious injury after a clash that led to his early substitution.

The recruit was floored by Atletico defender Emiliano Velazquez inside the match's opening 30 seconds but Muscat said he would be fine for the FFA Cup round of 32 match on Wednesday.

"It was a direct knock knee to knee. He'll be fine," he said.

"I'll be very surprised if he's not available."

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