Simeone hails ‘beautiful’ game after making last 16, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Simeone hails ‘beautiful’ game after making last 16

Spanish side reach Champions League last 16 after ill-tempered win over Porto

Atletico Madrid snatched a place in the Champions League last 16 by riding their luck to win 3-1 at Porto yesterday morning (Singapore time) in a tense, ill-tempered game which Diego Simeone called "beautiful" as both sides finished with 10 men.

Antoine Griezmann put Atletico in front against the run of play in the 56th minute, bundling the ball into the net following a corner after the hosts had missed a glut of clear chances either side of the break.

Atletico's lead was threatened when Yannick Carrasco was sent off in the 67th minute for raising his hands to Otavio as tempers raged following a foul.

However, Porto's numerical advantage lasted only a few moments as Wendell was dismissed for appearing to lightly strike Matheus Cunha with his elbow, sparking a melee involving the players and coaching staff.

Simeone's Atleti saw out the game in typical fashion, ceding Porto the ball but closing down the spaces, and substitute Angel Correa clinched the win with a clinical finish on the counter-attack in the 90th minute.

Rodrigo de Paul then added a third goal 60 seconds later as Porto ran out of energy and hope. The home side earned a consolation penalty which Sergio Oliveira converted with the final kick of the game.

Said Simeone: "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."

Atleti began the game bottom of Group B but ended it second on seven points, with Porto coming third with five and qualifying for the Europa League.

"This match and this group stage campaign sums up just what Atleti is all about," said Griezmann.

"We are a true group and we need everyone to do their bit to get to where we want to. We never stop believing."

Liverpool topped the group with 18 points after a 2-1 win at AC Milan, who finished bottom.

Atletico had the odds stacked against them after losing their previous game at home to Milan 1-0, so to progress, they needed not only to win but also for Liverpool to do them a favour.

"We knew exactly what was at stake but we're Atletico Madrid, we do things the hard way and it tastes much better like this," said defender Mario Hermoso. - REUTERS