Feyenoord suffered a frustrating Champions League night in Madrid as Alvaro Morata struck twice to claim all three points for the home side.
Two goals immediately before and after half-time transformed a match in which the Rotterdammers had looked the superior team until then.
But despite enjoying more possession and chances in the second half, they were unable to find a way past Diego Simeone’s side in what coach Arie Slot had warned would be an “examination” of his team’s credentials.
Slot chose Japanese striker Ayase Ueda to replace the suspended Santiago Gímenez, while Ramiz Zerrouki was picked in midfield to allow Calvin Stengs to take a more advanced role.
Feyenoord took the game to Atlético from the start and were rewarded early on when Ueda fired a shot that Jan Oblak could only parry. Defender Mario Hermoso was helpless as the ball bounced off his back and into the net.
The hosts levelled five minutes later when Mats Wieffer cut out a diagonal ball towards Saul Niguez, but could only turn it into the path of Alvaro Morata who fired a first-time shot past Timo Wellenreuther.
Niguez was given offside by the referee, but the VAR panel decided he was not interfering with play and the goal stood.
After a spell of pressure from Atlético, Feyenoord regained the upper hand and took the lead for a second time after 34 minutes when Dávid Hancko volleyed Stengs’s free-kick against Oblak before smashing in the rebound.
The visitors looked likelier to score again, with Stengs and Igor Paixão causing trouble down the right-hand side. But it was Atlético who struck just before half-time when Feyenoord failed to clear a corner and the ball fell to Antoine Griezemann, who somehow found space to hook it over his shoulder and into the net.
And Morata turned the game on its head minutes after the restart when he met Nahuel Molina’s inswinging cross with a low finish into the bottom corner.
Feyenoord pressed forward in search of an equaliser, with Paixão twice going close with spectacular efforts, but struggled to carve out clear chances.
The increasingly isolated Ueda was replaced by Yankuba Minteh, while Iranian striker Alireza Jahanbakhsh replaced Zerrouki as Slot was forced to gamble.
The enterprising Minteh twice went close in the dying minutes, but Atlético were able to close out the match to the joy of the home fans.
Feyenoord’s next match is against Lazio in De Kuip on October 25.
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