GENEVA – Europa League specialist Radamel Falcao scored again as 2010 winner Atletico Madrid beat Celtic 2-0 in a group-stage Europa League opener on Thursday.
Falcao got 18 goals in last season's competition to help FC Porto succeed Atletico as champion, and persuade the Madrid club to pay €40 million ($57 million) for his offseason transfer.
The Colombia international took just three minutes to strike with a header from a corner, and Brazilian midfielder Diego shot right-footed into the net in the 69th minute.
UEFA will be asked to annul the result by FC Sion, which was expelled from the competition for fielding ineligible players in its playoff round victory over Celtic. UEFA confirmed the Scottish club's place in the lineup on Tuesday.
Completing what is probably the toughest group, Udinese's talismanic forward Antonio di Natale scored in a 2-1 victory over Rennes.
Besiktas beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 5-1 in a match overshadowed by troubled Turkish-Israeli political relations. Maccabi players were booed before the match and 2,000 police officers were deployed at the stadium in Istanbul.
Also on a 24-match progam Thursday, Athletic Bilbao won 2-1 at Slovan Bratislava and Sporting Lisbon got a 2-0 victory at FC Zurich. PSV Eindhoven edged Legia Warsaw 1-0 and Anderlecht's Argentinian forward Matias Suarez got a hat trick in a 4-1 win over AEK Athens.
AZ Alkmaar beat Malmo 4-1. Jozy Altidore opened the scoring in the 21st minute before Rasmus Elm doubled the lead from the penalty spot. Adam Maher made it 3-0 at halftime.