Atletico Madrid kicked off their Champions League campaign with a frustrating 0-0 draw away to Roma. The club lost in the Champions League playoff round to Porto last year before competing in the Europa League.
It was not to be, however, and when Saul hit the post with the goal gaping in stoppage time you knew it was not their night. Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla FC - prepare to field their finest teams and prove their continental pedigree once again.
Replacing Nainggolan late on, Pellegrini did well to fill in for the Belgian and give Roma a steady passer in the middle when time was coming up. Made the wrong decision - something he keeps on doing - too often, passing when he should shoot and shooting when he should pass. His directness and pace exploited a lot of room and you wonder if he would have been better starting, too. Save after save kept the Romans in the game, giving them a fighting chance, and there wasn't much more the Brazilian could have done for Roma tonight.
Yet the match is also special because it is perhaps Los Colchoneros' most important game of the group, even at this very early stage.
While Los Rojiblancos have not faced defeat so far, 5 points from 3 matches is far from the desired result and Diego Simeone will be looking towards the AS Roma match to provide some momentum to his side. The Giallorossi have a new man at the helm in their ex-midfielder and former Sassuolo boss Eusebio Di Francesco, but what can the La Liga outfit expect from their latest adversaries?
No other team in the world makes it as difficult for the opposition to create clear chances, and that makes Atletico among the leading Champions League contenders again this season.
Time to Get up and get off the mark.
However, Strootman has not enjoyed an amazing start to the Serie A season, with an average rating of just 6.52, according to WhoScored.com.
Diego Simeone's side were guilty of spurning a string of chances in the first half with Saul Niguez hitting the post and Koke having a shot brilliantly cleared off the line by Kostas Manolas.
Roma and Atlético Madrid weren't separated in a 0-0 draw in the Italian capital despite a lively game at the Stadio Olimpico.
The game came alive on the half-hour as Aleksandar Kolarov first rolled a free kick to the edge of the box for Radja Nainggolan, whose rocket was about blocked on the line by Jan Oblak as it squirmed under him.
"We are going to face an Atletico like we have seen in previous years", he told Spain's Movistar Plus. Nico Gaitan could get the nod ahead of Yannick Carrasco on Tuesday if Simeone does decide to rotate.
But Gabi is now 34 years old and entering the twilight of his career, forcing Simeone to contemplate the future of his team without his skipper.
"Atletico have reasons to be ambitious".