Melbourne Victory has claimed its second big scalp in the space of eight days, beating Atletico Madrid 1-0 at Simonds Stadium in Geelong.
The win came a week after Victory defeated Italian champions Juventus, albeit it came against an understrength Atletico side missing many of its first-team regulars, including star striker Fernando Torres.
A header from Nick Ansell on the stroke of half-time proved the difference in an entertaining and at times willing contest in front of a healthy crowd of 16,652 on Sunday afternoon.
Lawrence Thomas put in a brilliant performance in goal, making a number of world-class saves to deny the Spanish side.
Victory started the game with close to its best team on the park, with captain Carl Valeri (rested) the only noticeable absentee from the match day squad.
Atletico did most of the attacking in the first half, creating a number of chances, while Victory’s best opportunity came from a partially blocked shot from Oliver Bozanic.
Victory was forced into an early substitution when Jai Ingham replaced the injured Mitch Austin after 25 minutes, though the winger was later cleared of any serious damage.
Against the run of play late in the half, Ansell rose highest from a Fahid Ben Khalfallah free-kick to nod home and give Victory the advantage at the break.
With an hour gone Victory made six substitutions, with Jason Geria, James Donachie, Stefan Nigro, George Howard, Sebastian Pasquali and debutant Christian Theoharous entering the game.
The youngsters impressed as they did against Juventus, and Victory held on to record another memorable win against a world-class opponent.
Victory’s next challenge comes in the Westfield FFA Cup on Wednesday, when it travels to New South Wales to take on Newcastle Jets at Magic Park.
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Melbourne Victory 1 (Ansell 44′)
Atletico Madrid 0