Griezmann volley keeps slim Atletico hopes alive

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Madrid, Nov 23 (IANS) Goals from the much criticised attacking duo of Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro kept Atletico Madrid’s slim hopes of reaching the last 16 of the Champions League alive, with a 2-0 win at home against Roma.

Griezmann had been booed off the pitch during Atletico’s 0-0 draw at home to Real Madrid on Saturday night, but he shut a few mouths with a spectacular overhead kick to open the scoring with 20 minutes remaining on Wednesday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Roma were reduced to 10 men when Bruno Peres was sent off with a second yellow card with seven minutes remaining and Gameiro sealed Atletico’s win with a finish into an empty net from a narrow angle two minutes later.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone lost right back Juanfran Torres through injury before kick off with Jose Gimenez stepping into the side, while Augusto Fernandez made his first start since a serious knee injury in place of Gabi Fernandez and Fernando Torres also began his first game in the group stage.

In reality, the game seemed to produce little excitement among Atletico fans and it was the lowest entrance in the new Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Griezmann’s goal gave Atletico a lifeline, although the odds are still against the Spanish side who need to win away to Chelsea and hope that Roma fail to claim a home win against minnows Qarabag in the last group game to reach the last 16.

Elsewhere, Ernesto Valverde rested Leo Messi and saw how Barca assured first place in their group with a 0-0 draw away to Juventus.

–IANS

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