Atletico ease into next round
Atletico Madrid booked their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League after a 2-1 win over PSV Eindhoven.
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 26/11/08 9:59pm
Atletico Madrid booked their place in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League after a 2-1 win over PSV Eindhoven at an empty Vicente Calderon.
The game was played out in a surreal atmosphere in the Spanish capital as Atletico's punishment from Uefa continued, and the playing of crowd noises through the PA system did little to enhance the game.
In the end Atletico did not miss their passionate home support and they strolled into a two-goal lead after half-an-hour with Simao and Maxi Rodriguez firing home after defensive errors from the PSV back-line.
PSV improved thereafter and Danny Koevermans got them back into the game just after the break - but they were unable to peg Atletico back, who remain on course to top Group D, ahead of Liverpool who beat Marseille at Anfield.
Atletico had threatened to over-run PSV in the opening 45 minutes and should have had more than the two-goal lead they went into the interval with.
After just five minutes Simao skipped his way into the box and had all the time in the world, but his final cross was cut out by Carlos Salcido.
It was then Simao who did break the deadlock and it was a defensive calamity as Salcido failed to deal with a cross, then the Mexican contrived to get the ball caught in his feet and it fell straight for the Portuguese ace - and he poked the ball home from six yards.
Sergio Aguero and Maniche were both beginning to show their class and it was no shock when Atletico doubled their advantage just before the half-hour.
It was again PSV's failure to cope from a corner as the ball came into the box and it cannoned off Francisco Rodriguez to Maxi - who fired home high into the net.
Suddenly PSV awoke from their malaise and almost pulled one back straight from the kick-off as Edison Mendez broke into the box and beat Gregory Coupet, only for Johnny Heitinga to clear off his own line.
Aguero then had his first sight of goal after great work from Simao again teed him up - but the Argentine skied his shot from just ten yards when he should have made it three.
Danko Lazovic fired just over for PSV on the stroke of half-time and that was a sign of things to come as the Dutch side soon found themselves back into the game.
PSV back in it
Two minutes after the restart and indeed Huub Stevens's men had scored. Yet more poor defending as Atletico failed to clear which allowed Koevermans the chance to turn the ball home.
Aguero had another sight of goal as Giourkas Seitaridis broke down the right and curled a wonderful ball into the box but the diminutive front-man just could not make a proper connection as the ball flew wide.
That proved Aguero's last contribution as he was taken off, more for his own protection as he was starting to get some over-zealous treatment from PSV.
Aguero's replacement Florent Sinama Pongolle should have put the game beyond PSV but he managed to hit Andreas Isaksson from close range.Hungarian Balasz Dzsudzsak then had Gregory Coupet tipping the ball over with a good drive - but Atletico managed to hang to claim the three points which sealed their progression into the next phase.
|Atlético de Madrid||Team Statistics||PSV Eindhoven|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||5|
|9||Shots off Target||4|