Amid a flurry of red cards and set-tos, Atletico Madrid on Tuesday emerged victorious, through to the Champions League last 16 with a display of hostility and just enough cutting edge at both ends to edge past Porto.
As has so often been the case in Atleti's finest European hours, Jan Oblak kept them in the game on one end while Antoine Griezmann won it on the other. This was hardly the same vintage of performance as those that made Diego Simeone's side a perennial figure in the decisive stages of this competition in years gone by, but they will at least have the chance to get that far in 2022.
A 3-1 win in the Estadio do Dragao coupled with AC Milan's defeat to Liverpool in the San Siro propelled Atletico from bottom of Group B to second, Griezmann scoring one, providing the second for Angel Correa and helping to force another for Rodrigo De Paul. It was a scoreline that did not remotely reflect a game in which Medhi Taremi spurned chances to win qualification for Porto, who now find themselves in the Europa League. They departed the Champions League in furious fashion, bemoaning a red card for Wendell moments after they had been handed a man advantage when Yannick Carrasco swung an arm out and was sent off.
AC Milan can at least take solace from the fact that their exit from Europe allows them to focus on the title race.
67': Carrasco 🟥
70': Wendell 🟥
75': Marchesin 🟥
Porto vs. Atleti is WILD. 😳 pic.twitter.com/tcXSIjv344— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) December 7, 2021
With both sides needing a win to be sure of qualification, the clash in Portugal began in explosive fashion, riven with robust challenges and rifling runs through midfield. An early foul on Thomas Lemar by Evanilson set the tone for Atletico Madrid's indignance with Koke leading a chorus of visiting players demanding referee Clement Turpin take action.
He was not moved but without a refereeing intervention it was not that easy to see how Atletico Madrid might gain the upper foot in this game, their task made all the harder when Luis Suarez exited the game in tears after 15 minutes. Matheus Cunha was his replacement, an ineffectual one for much of the match.
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Still, Atleti had the best chance of the early exchanges, Diogo Costa saving excellently first from Lemar before getting up and scurrying across goal to deny Marcos Llorente. The visitors might have had the best chance but Porto had more good ones, Jan Oblak saving smartly from Marko Grujic and Luis Diaz while Evanilson flicked a header across goal and wide of the far post.
Though events in Portugal were going to their favor, Milan did not look like taking advantage early on in the San Siro, struggling to win the ball back or to play through the press of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and youngster Tyler Morton. When it did get up the pitch, Zlatan Ibrahimovic served to slow down his side's play but his winning of one corner in the 29th minute did aid Milan's cause.
Takumi Minamino ought to have provided a clearing boot for a low corner at the near post, one that instead flew through to Alisson. All the Brazilian goalkeeper could do was parry the ball into the path of Fikayo Tomori, the former Chelsea center back raising the roof at San Siro.
It lasted a matter of minutes. Mike Maignan's weak parry of an Oxlade-Chamberlain shot teeing up Mohamed Salah for his 20th goal of the season. At this juncture, it is worth noting that it is Dec. 7. Some teams have not reached 20 goals yet.
Early in the second half, Milan exited the three-way tussle. At the San Siro, Divock Origi punished lax defending from first Tomori and then Maignan. Meanwhile in the Dragao, Oblak's desperate holding of the fort on one end was rewarded on the other as Griezmann turned home a corner flicked on by Geoffrey Kondogbia.
That was when heads went throughout the game. Porto nerves grew -- Chancel Mbemba nearly gifting a second to Griezmann after Pepe had cleared off the line -- while Atleti grew ever more determined to fight in defense of what they had won.
Carrasco's attempts to delay play catastrophically backfired when he overreacted to Otavio's reclaiming of the ball, hitting the Porto midfielder with a clothesline that was a clear red, one that served to send this game into glorious anarchy.
Turpin could scarcely keep control. Moments later, Porto substitute Wendell was given his marching orders, his elbow had been in Cunha's throat but only because the Atletico Madrid forward had placed himself there. The indignance of Porto's bench saw substitute goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin sent to the stands too.
That merely set the stage for a chaotic conclusion to the game. Griezmann's smart work to draw Porto to the right on the counter before playing in Correa killed off the game before De Paul added gloss by scrambling in another after clumsy defending from Mbemba. Even that was not enough drama for the game as substitute Sergio Oliveira scored from the penalty spot with the last kick of the game. Sergio Conceicao's indignant applause for Turpin made clear what Porto made of this occasion, one in which Wendell's red card may have turned the tide.
Source : https://www.cbssports.com/soccer/news/ac-milan-vs-liverpool-porto-vs-atletico-madrid-scores-live-updates-from-champions-league-group-b-action/live/1051