Atletico Madrid snatched a place in the Champions League last 16 as it rode it’s luck to somehow win 3-1 at Porto on Tuesday in a tense and ill-tempered game which saw both sides finish 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.
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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 the coaching staff.
Diego Simeone’s team 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 cold-blooded 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 hosts earned a consolation penalty which Sergio Oliveira converted with the final kick of the game.
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.
Liverpool finished top with 18 points after winning 2-1 at AC Milan, which finished bottom with four.
Atletico had the odds stacked against them after losing their previous game at home to Milan 1-0 and to progress it needed not only to win but also for Liverpool to do it a favour.
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Atleti was missing it’s top three central defenders in Jose Gimenez, Stefan Savic and Felipe and things got off to an ominous start when striker Luis Suarez was forced off injured in the 13th minute.
The visitors created their first real chance when Carrasco carved his way through the defence but Marcos Llorente fired his ricocheted cross against the feet of Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa.
Porto dominated the rest of the first half and Atletioc keeper Jan Oblak produced an outstanding save to deny Luis Diaz, while Llorente threw himself across goal to prevent Mehdi Taremi reaching the loose ball.
Taremi missed two clear chances early in the second half, blazing over the bar and then being denied by the feet of Oblak, before Griezmann gave Atletico an unlikely lead with a scrappy goal.
Porto barely recovered from the shock of going behind and substitute goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin was sent off from the stands as both sides struggled to control their tempers.