Diego Costa‘s second debut for Atletico Madrid was pretty eventful.
The Spanish international, 29, hadn’t played in a competitive game since the FA Cup final at the end of the 2016-17 season but just five minutes after coming on as a sub for Atletico on Wednesday he found the back of the net in their 4-0 win against lower-tier Lleida Esportiu in the Copa del Rey.
Yet Costa injured himself either by diving in to score the goal, or with his celebration, but managed to continue after receiving treatment on his injured right knee.
In his first spell with Atletico he scored 64 goals in 135 appearances in all competitions before being sold to Chelsea in the summer of 2014.
Costa then fell out with manager Antonio Conte on multiple occasions and Chelsea eventually agreed to sell him in September. He has since had to wait on the sidelines to make his debut for Atletico with their transfer ban lifted on January 1, 2018.
Not even Lionel Messi, who made his season debut on Saturday, was able to save Barcelona against a red-hot Granada.
Granada, who are off to their best start in their 88 years of existence, had a perfect night in front of their supporters, convincingly getting past a Barcelona that dominated possession, but lacked the offensive ingenuity needed to score.
Two minutes in, the newly promoted side scored through a headed goal from Ramon Azeez, following a defensive turnover from Junior Firpo.
Unable to record a shot on target in the first half and looking to wakeup a dormant attack, Barcelona brought on wonderkid Ansu Fati and Lionel Messi at halftime. Despite the duo connecting on several occasion and generating a shot on target, it wasn’t enough to get past Rui Silva.
In the 66th minute, following video review, substitute Alvaro Badillo converted from the spot, handing Granada their third win of the season.
Atop of La Liga, Granada set their sights on Real Valladolid, while Barcelona, who are off to their worst league start in 25 years, host Villarreal at Camp Nou.
Atletico Madrid 0-0 Celta Vigo
For a second consecutive week, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid dropped points, drawing with Celta Vigo 0-0 at Wanda Metropolitano.
Tied with league leaders Granada and Sevilla with 10 points, the alarm bells are far from going off in Madrid. However, as Saturday’s performance showed, los Colchoneros are having trouble finishing chances this season, despite fielding an attack with the likes of Joao Felix, Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata.
In five games, Atletico have managed to score only five goals, six fewer than leaders Granada. Against Celta, Atletico registered 20 shots, five on target, but were unable to crack a stellar Ruben Blanco, who registered five saves.
Leveled with Granada and Sevilla, Atletico Madrid look to get back into winning ways as they take on RCD Mallorca. Elsewhere, Celta Vigo, who have won win after five games, host Espanyol next.
The game in 200 words (or less): Melodrama took center stage in Atlanta United’s 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes, as Matias Almeyda, Chris Wondolowski and Cristian Espinoza were all sent off on Saturday. Josef Martinez, six games away from tying Lionel Messi’s world record for most consecutive goals, left the field in 79th minute following an injury, ending his MLS-record run at 15 games. Playing with 10 players from the 34th minute onwards, the Quakes held on to the draw up until the 90th minute. Unmarked inside the box, Emerson Hyndman rocketed the ball past Daniel Vega, who recorded nine saves throughout the night. In stoppage time, Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez was rewarded for his stellar performance with a goal of his own. With a game at hand, Eastern Conference leaders, NYCFC, are three points ahead Frank De Boer‘s side. The Quakes, on the other hand, have internal fires to put out as they have lost six of their last eight, and are only a point above the red line with three games to play.
Three moments that mattered
27′ — Great run by Espinoza, greater ball by Vega — Daniel Vega and Cristian Espinoza were players that San Jose were desperately missing last season. This sequence says it all.
ZURICH — Soccer’s governing body FIFA says an inspection visit to Iran has shown “no noteworthy operational obstacles” to lifting the country’s 40-year ban and letting women attend a World Cup qualifying game next month.
After meeting government and soccer officials in Tehran this week, FIFA says it will work with Iran’s soccer body to also open domestic league games to female fans.
FIFA wants Iran to end its ban on women entering stadiums which breaches international soccer statutes prohibiting discrimination.
Global attention on the ban followed the death this month of a 29-year-old activist, Sahar Khodayari, who set herself on fire outside a courthouse. She had been detained for dressing as a man to enter a soccer stadium in Tehran and faced six months in prison.
Ahead of Iran hosting Cambodia at the 78,000-capacity Azadi Stadium on Oct. 10, FIFA says the visit on Thursday focused on “international relations, security and ticketing matters.”
Iranian officials were told of FIFA’s “firm and clear position that women need to be allowed to enter football matches freely” with tickets sold to as many who wanted to attend.
FOLLOW LIVE: Atlanta v. Quakes, Galaxy v. Impact on a busy MLS Saturday
Things kickoff with Matias Almeyda’s San Jose Earthquakes visiting red-hot Josef Martinez’s Atlanta United, and comes to a close in Los Angeles, where league leaders LAFC host Toronto FC and LA Galaxy, who look to continue moving up in the Western Conference standings, host Montreal Impact.
In between, the New England Revolution look to remain in the Eastern Conference playoff picture as they welcome Kyle Beckerman and Real Salt Lake, while the Chicago Fire hope to jump level with the Revs in the standings as they take on FC Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium.
Saturday’s full MLS schedule
Atlanta United v. San Jose Earthquakes — 3:30 p.m. ET
Vancouver Whitecaps v. Columbus Crew — 5 p.m. ET
New England Revolution v. Real Salt Lake — 7:30 p.m. ET
FC Cincinnati v. Chicago Fire — 7:30 p.m. ET
Sporting Kansas City v. Colorado Rapids — 8:30 p.m. ET