Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone heaped praise on his players are their 3-1 win in Porto on Tuesday.
Los Rojiblancos came into match needing nothing less than three points whilst hoping that Milan didn’t beat Liverpool in the group’s other clash. After a 3-1 victory at the Estádio do Dragão and Liverpool’s 2-1 win in Milan, Atleti reached the knockout stages.
After a quiet first half, aside from Luis Suarez’s early withdrawal due to injury, Antoine Griezmann gave Atletico a lead early into the second period. Not long after, Yannick Carrasco was red carded for the visitors. Porto substitute Wendell also was given his marching orders to level up the numbers.
Two members of the Porto technical team and their second choice keeper Agustín Marchesín were all shown red cards. One Atletico coach joined them as well. The away side scored two late goals through Angel Correa and Rodrigo De Paul to make it 3-0 before a late Porto penalty was converted by Sergio Oliveira.
Simeone states it was a ‘beautiful day’
Simeone said in his post-match interview: “I’ve been at this club for ten years and the team always ends up exciting me in new ways.
“The difficulties, the fact that we didn’t have three of our four centre-backs, but there are players with few minutes who are still so important to us. Today it was Vrsaljko’s turn, we knew he could do his job.
“The whole team got involved in the game, gave everything, put their hearts into it. We have a goalkeeper who delivered in moments of difficulty. In the second half, if they had scored from that chance, they win.
“Today was a beautiful day, a great day. They gave us the ambition of wanting to make it through. We are going to remember this as one of the classic Champions League matches of our lifetime, against a great team in a tough game. We’re similar. The game had everything – sendings off, chances.
“Football, how beautiful.”
Atletico face defensive crisis for derby
Diego Simeone finds himself with something of a defensive crisis ahead of Sunday’s derby against Real Madrid.
Against Porto, midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia was used in the back three. Stefan Savic suffered an injury in Atleti’s defeat to Mallorca last Saturday and remains a major doubt.
Another centre back in Jose Maria Gimenez was also absent for the win in Porto. Diego Simeone will welcome back Felipe after he missed the match in Portugal due to suspension.
Luis Suarez left the field on Tuesday in tears after his 13th minute substitution due to a muscle injury. Matheus Cunha replaced him and could partner Antoine Griezmann in the derby. Suarez has netted seven goals in 12 La Liga matches this term, following up on his 21 league goals last season.