Monday, April 21, 2014   

(Champions League) Atletico send Porto to the exit
(12-12 11:05)

Portuguese champions Porto were left to rue a number of missed opportunities as they bowed out of the Champions League with a 2-0 defeat away to Atletico Madrid in Spain yesterday.
The visitors struck the woodwork three times in the first-half and saw Atletico keeper Daniel Aranzubia save Josue's penalty as goals from Raul Garcia and Diego Costa saw the hosts maintain their unbeaten record in the tournament this season.
Porto's defeat means that Zenit St Petersburg progress to the last 16 despite the Russians losing 4-1 to Austria Vienna in the night's other game in Group G, whilst Porto drop into the Europa League thanks to their better head-to-head record against the Austrians.
Porto started well. Jackson Martinez went desperately close to the opener on eight minutes connecting with Danilo's cross from the right and the ball rebounded off the crossbar.
Six minutes later it was Atletico who went in front as Garcia's fierce effort from a narrow angle caught Porto keeper Helton napping at his near post.
Silvestre Varela then saw a headed effort clip the bar as Porto responded positively and they had a chance to equalize when Aranzubia upended Martinez inside the area.
However, Josue's powerful spot-kick was placed too close to the keeper who redeemed himself with a smart save.
It was not to be Martinez's night as he struck the post once more moments later.
And Atletico eventually took advantage of Porto's high line on the counter-attack as Costa raced onto Oliver Torres' through ball to round Helton and squeeze home his fourth goal in just three appearances.
David Villa replaced Costa at the break as Simeone looked ahead to Saturday's visit of Valencia in La Liga.
Without their top scorer, Atletico were happy to sit on their lead rather than go in search of a third and as a result the second-half was far less of a spectacle as Porto pressed without having creating any clear openings of note.
However, that was of no concern.
   
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