First half goals from Raul Garcia and Diego Costa gave Atletico Madrid a 2-0 win over Porto as they finish top of Group G.
Diego Simeone made a number of changes for the capital club’s game with the Portuguese side this evening. The Rojiblancos were already guaranteed of a place in the last 16, but gave starting berths to goalkeeper Dani Aranzubia, defender Javi Manquillo and young midfield starlet Oliver Torres. Despite those changes though, leading goalscorer Diego Costa played, with Adrian Lopez in support.
Neither side were particularly awe-inspiring in the opening exchanges, playing out a nervy start to the game, gently prodding in a cautious first few minutes.
Paulo Fonseca’s men though, eventually upped their tempo, and almost opened the scoring on 10 minutes. Danilo’s cross found Jackson Martinez on the slide, but the Colombian forward’s effort struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced clear.
The Rojiblancos however, soon struck back with an effort of their own. But this time, it hit the back of the net. Raul Garcia struck a piledriver from inside the area that whipped past Helton at his near post, clipping the angle of crossbar and post.
The Dragoes weren’t disheartened and hit the woodwork for a second time soon after, as Silvestre Valera’s effort nailed the post.
The visitors were growing into the game and were probably the better side going into the break. Lucho Gonzalez and Varela, in particular, were looking dangerous. It was Josue though, who should have levelled things up on the half hour mark. Dani Aranzubia was cautioned for a foul on Martinez inside the area, but the midfielder couldn’t convert the resulting spot kick, forcing a save from the former Deportivo shot-stopper.
That would come back to haunt the away side, as just minutes later, Diego Costa struck his fourth Champions League goal of the campaign. A ball over the top from Oliver Torres found the Brazilian/Spaniard, who rounded the goalkeeper and tapped into an empty net.
After the break, Porto maintained their heavy spells of possession, but couldn’t find a way past the Atleti backline.
It was an open first 45, but the sting was taken out of the game completely by Simeone’s men in the second period, as they slowed the game down to their own pace.
The away team were throwing more and more men forward in the latter stages, but still the Vicente Calderon outfit stood firm to claim their clean sheet.
Atletico Madrid 2-0 Porto
Scorers: Raul Garcia 14 (AM), Diego Costa 37 (AM)
Atletico Madrid: Aranzubia; Manquillo, Alderweireld, Miranda, Insua; Gabi, Koke, Óliver Torres (Arda Turan 64), Raúl García, Adrián (Baptistao 84), Diego Costa (Villa 46)
Porto: Helton, Danilo, Maicon, Mangala, Alex Sandro, Lucho González (Ghilas 65), Josué (Lica 46), Fernando, Defour (Herrera 80), Jackson Martínez, Varela
Missed penalty: Josue 27 (P)