Atletico Madrid broke FC Porto hearts as they came out on top in a hot-tempered do or die clash at Estadio do Dragao on Tuesday.
All is well that ends well for Atletico Madrid as they defeated Portuguese giants FC Porto to ensure their qualification for the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League.
Diego Simeone’s side had looked out of sorts throughout the competition and struggled to showcase their best. It would appear that they left their best for last. The Spanish champions have joined Liverpool as the two teams to qualify for the Round of 16 from Group B.
Travelling away to Estadio do Dragao is never easy, more so when one considers Atletico’s recent form. With AC Milan dropping points at home against Liverpool, it appeared to be a straight shootout between Porto and Atletico for the second spot.
The home side started well and enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession on the night. However, Atletico broke the deadlock thanks to Antoine Griezmann in the 56th minute. Yannick Carrasco’s dismissal threatened to hand Porto the initiative, only for Wendell to get sent off and make it a ten a side game.
NEVER STOP BELIEVING!
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) December 7, 2021
Angel Correa scored in the 90th minute to put the result beyond doubt before Rodrigo De Paul put the finishing touches in stoppage time. Sergio Oliveira grabbed a late consolation for Porto with a final minute penalty. In the end, the Portuguese giants had nobody but themselves to blame. Porto also had Agustin Marchesin sent off on the night.
Atletico started the game at the bottom of Group B. However, the win coupled with Porto and Milan’s losses helped them finish second with seven points. The knockouts now await the reigning La Liga champions. The Hard Tackle looks at how the Atletico Madrid players fared on the night.
Jan Oblak: 8/10
The Slovenian needed to be in top form given his side’s absentees in defence. He did just that and was an imperious presence between the sticks. In the first half, he made a wonderful save to prevent Marko Grujic before repeating the trick against Mehdi Taremi in the second half.
He has to be praised for keeping his side level and proving a constant thorn in Porto’s side. Oblak did not come close to saving the penalty, but it made little difference to the grand scheme of things.
Atlético Madrid would have conceded more goals with a wall in goal compared to the goals conceded with Oblak in goal.
— TF (@TotalFelix) December 7, 2021
Sime Vrsaljko: 6/10
The Croat did well in the absence of Kieran Trippier. While he was far from flawless, his performance was enough to get the job done. His backline ably supported Vrsaljko as Atletico continued to keep the home side at bay.
Geoffrey Kondogbia: 6/10
Atletico’s injuries in defence forced Simeone to deploy the midfielder as a makeshift centre-back. Kondogbia was helped by Atletico’s game plan to sit deep and maintain a compact line. He was impressive and grew into the role as the game went on while also playing a crucial role as a decoy in the lead-up to Griezmann’s opener.
Mario Hermoso: 6/10
Hermoso was Atletico’s senior defender on the night, and while he showed plenty of heart, he was found wanting. He jostled with the Porto players all night and threatened to give away a penalty thanks to his recklessness. It finally happened in stoppage time, and Porto converted it with the last kick of the game.
Yannick Carrasco: 5/10
The Belgian was a livewire on the night and played a key role in Atletico’s attacking moves. While he did leave gaps in the defence, Carrasco showed a lot of guile and intent going forward. He was arguably Atletico’s most threatening player during his time on the field.
The second half of Atlético Madrid vs. Porto has been wild 😳
67'— Yannick Carrasco gets sent off
67'— Ángel Correa and Otávio given yellow cards for unsportsmanlike conduct
69'— Pepe shown yellow for unsportsmanlike conduct
70'— Wendell gets sent off pic.twitter.com/iH49QYPHW9
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 7, 2021
However, Carrasco received his marching orders in the 67th minute after grabbing Otavio by the neck. A very silly thing to do that did not come back to bite his team.
The Atletico Madrid skipper looks spent and could do with a breather. He looked out of sorts and was far from his best against Porto. With much of the season to come, Atletico will need their midfield general in top shape.
Rodrigo De Paul: 7/10
The Argentine was up for the challenge and put in arguably one of his better performances in a Rojiblancos jersey. He sat deep and protected the makeshift defence well before scoring his first goal for the club in the 92nd minute.
1 – Rodrigo de Paul 🇦🇷 has scored his first goal for @atletienglish in all competitions (20 appearances), registering against Porto his best tally of recoveries in a single match for the club (13). Stellar. pic.twitter.com/vuOznjkmx2
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 7, 2021
Marcos Llorente: 8/10
The Spaniard was among Atletico’s top performers on the night and was a sheer joy on the right flank. He was aggressive in his approach and solid in defence. While he failed to do much offensively, the stability he provided on his side gave Atletico the base to build upon.
Thomas Lemar: 5/10
Lemar was largely invisible in the first half as Atletico enjoyed less possession. He helped Llorente in the densive phases and also provided the assist for Griezmann’s opener. Angel Correa replaced him in the 65th minute.
Antoine Griezmann: 7/10
Griezmann worked tirelessly all over the field and gave Atletico the lead in the 56th minute. He also grabbed himself an assist and was Atletico’s lynchpin in the attack. The performance, however, left much to be desired, and the Frenchman is capable of so much more.
4 – Antoine Griezmann 🇫🇷 has scored four goals in five appearances for @atletienglish in the @ChampionsLeague this season, as many as in his 16 appearances in the competition for Barcelona (four goals). Smile. pic.twitter.com/0gX4dRLi6a
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 7, 2021
Luis Suarez: N/A
The veteran striker lasted just 12 minutes on the pitch before being forced off with an injury.
Matheus Cunha: 6/10
The Brazilian worked hard and showed off his defensive prowess. He could have grabbed himself a goal but failed to take his chance.
Angel Correa: 7/10
Correa was a slight improvement over Lemar and scored the goal that gave Atletico a two-goal cushion in the dying minutes.
Renan Lodi: N/A
Lodi came on late as Atletico looked to see out the game. The most significant contribution on the night saw him get caught offside leading up to an excellent Griezmann through ball.