MADRID: La Liga champions Atletico Madrid drew 2-2 against Villarreal on Sunday after an astonishing own goal in the final seconds from Aissa Mandi.
Villarreal seemed headed for an unlikely win as new signing Arnaut Danjuma restored the lead in the 74th minute after Luis Suarez had made up for Manu Trigueros’ opening goal in the second half.
But in the fifth minute of added time Saul Niguez from Atletico sent a hopeful ball into the field, and the Algerian defender Mandi got up to turn his head on goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli, instead looking into his own net to the horror of his team-mates.
While Villarreal could hardly believe their misfortune, Atletico deserved a draw after scoring 23 shots on goal had given up two guests, both of which ended up in the net.
The late drama prevented a first home defeat for Atletico since February and brought them after three games alongside five other teams to seven points, with Real Madrid leading the goal difference.
Atletico had dominated the first half, but fell behind against the course of the game at the beginning of the second period after midfielder Trigueros after a break from Yeremi Pino missed a blow from the box.
Luis Suarez scored his first goal of the season shortly afterwards to equalize for the hosts.
But the Uruguayan, whose 21 goals last season were decisive for winning the title of Atletico went out injured and was seen on the bench stroking his knee with a pack of ice cream.
Villarreal took the lead again after a mix-up between Atleti defenders Stefan Savic and Jose Gimenez, leaving the Dutch behind Striker Danjuma, who made his first start since a reported € 25m ($ 29.49m) move from Bournemouth, on the loose ba ll fall and lift her past goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
The home side pressed for the equalizer and Rulli did well to push a shot from Koke over the bar.
But Mandi’s header was stunned and Atletico could hardly believe their luck. Coach Diego Simeone celebrated on the sidelines with his substitute players and his coaching staff.
The own goal was a cruel turn for Villarreal coach Unai Emery, who has never celebrated a victory over Simeone after eleven games.
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