“We Are Atleti”: Atletico Madrid is the next team to join Champions League’s Round of 16
1. Porto vs Atletico Madrid Preview
Before the last game started, Atletico Madrid were the team that had the least opportunity to qualify for the Round of 16 in Champions League’s Group B. The magic can only happen if they beat Porto and Milan is humiliated by Liverpool as well.
Porto, meanwhile, have more advantages in this game. They only needed to have a draw game with Atletico and waited for Liverpool to defeat Milan to officially become the second-best team in Group B to join the round of 16.
- Porto: Diogo Costa, João Mário, Chancel Mbemba, Pepe, Zaidu Sanusi, Otavio, Vítor Ferreira, Marko Grujic, Luis Diaz, Mehdi Taremi, Evanilson.
- Atletico Madrid: Jan Oblak, Mario Hermoso, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Šime Vrsaljko, Ferreira Carrasco, Rodrigo De Paul, Koke, Fernando Llorente, Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar, Luis Suarez.
2. Porto 1-3 Atletico Madrid
Porto had the advantage to play at their home stadium and only needed a draw to join the Champions League’s knock-out round this season. However, the determination and strength of the Spaniard visitors broke that promising prospect of the home team.
The Portuguese club seemed to step a foot into the knockout stage when successfully holding back Atletico Madrid in the first half. There was no goal during the first 45 minutes no matter that both teams played tenaciously. In addition, that key striker Luis Suarez of Atletico had to leave the pitch early since the 13th minute due to his injury made Porto have more advantages.
However, everything turned around in the second half. Atletico Madrid began to control the game better. After the corner kick of Lemar, Griezmann was right near Porto’s net and the first goal of the match was scored in the 56th minute.
Griezmann opens the scoring for Atletico Madrid
However, the Spanish team had to meet another challenge when they had to play with only 10 players on the pitch since the 67th minute. Yannick Ferreira Carrasco got a straight red card after a foul with a Porto’s player. The home team needed to find a goal to equalize the score for the hope to enter the round of 16. Surprisingly, just some minutes later, Porto’s left-back Wendell also got a red card after a heavy foul with Atletico’s Cunha then both teams continued competing with 10 players each.
The last minutes of the game came and the score was still 1-0 for Los Colchoneros. However, it was not wrong when saying that the best part of the game started from then. In the 90th minute, Antoine Griezmann counterattacked suddenly and passed a convenient cross to Ángel Correa to raise the score to 2-0 for the visitors. Atletico had a certain spot to join Liverpool in the round of 16 at that time.
Atletico players celebrate their goals
Anyway, the injury time was still running and both clubs still playing tenaciously. 2 minutes after the second goal, De Paul got the ball and rapidly run to the penalty area. He passed to Griezmann to finish but the teammate’s shot was hindered. The ball rebounded to De Paul’s position once again and the Argentine did not waste the chance to score the third goal for Atletico Madrid on his own.
De Paul scores the third goal for Atletico
In the 90+5th minute, Porto got a goal thanks to Sergio Oliveira’s penalty. Obviously, that was not enough for the Portuguese club to win the game. The final score between Porto vs Atletico Madrid was 1-3. As it happened, Liverpool also thrashed AC Milan 2-1 so that Atletico Madrid officially became the runners-up with 7 points in Group B to enter the knockout stage of the Champions League this season.
Porto stood third with 5 points to get a spot in Europa League. Whereas, Milan had to stop their race when staying at the bottom of group B with only 4 points. Liverpool had an excellent group stage with perfect 18 points overall, winning all 6 games in the group.
3. Man of the Match
Antoine Griezmann is voted the UEFA Player of the Match. UEFA Technical Observer Vera Pauw commented: “Not only did he score the only goal of the game, but he also had to adapt to play in different positions. Especially in the second half, he was the core player who not only constantly kept the pressure on going forward but kept the left-wing closed as well when his side had to switch to a 4-4-1 system. It was a great move from Simeone (Atletico’s manager) to switch Griezmann to become the most attacking player central when he later changed to 5-3-1 system.”
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