Lisbon - Atletico Madrid striker Luciano
Vietto scored one goal after setting up the opener to lead a 2-1 win at Benfica
on Tuesday that leapfrogged the visitors over their Portuguese hosts to win
their Champions League group.
Playing at the same stadium where it lost
the 2014 final, Diego Simeone's side avenged a 2-1 loss to Benfica from earlier
this season and topped Group C by three points.
"We were back at the same hotel, the
same changing room, and this time we won. That says a lot about this
team," Simeone said.
Vietto passed for midfielder Saul Niguez to
convert Atletico's aggressive start into a goal after half an hour, before he
added a strike of his own early in the second half.
Benfica substitute Kostas Mitroglou halved
the difference in the 75th.
Atletico extended its winning streak to
seven matches and its unbeaten run to 13 games in all competitions.
"My guys are making an extraordinary
effort to win and win and win," said Simeone, with Atletico second to
Barcelona in the Spanish league. "We are taking away an important victory
for what's to come."
Benfica, which like Atletico was already
qualified for the round of 16, went through second in the group.
Galatasaray was held to 1-1 at home by
Astana in the other Group C match. The Turkish side finished third and will
join the Europa League.
Atletico started strong with Niguez, who
has moved into Simeone's starting 11 in place of the injured Tiago Mendes,
leading the way.
Niguez forced Benfica goalkeeper Julio
Cesar to palm away a long-distance strike in the 21st.
Julio Cesar was needed to push over Gabi
Fernandez's effort shortly after, but he could do nothing to keep out Niguez's
left-footed strike when Vietto received a pass from Antoine Griezmann and
passed back for his unmarked teammate inside the area.
Atletico was so dominant in the first half
that former Benfica goalkeeper Jan Oblak didn't have to make a save, while
Benfica halftime substitute Mitroglou tried to spark the hosts with a shot that
But Vietto soon quashed any thoughts of a
comeback when he made a run to the far post, where Yannick Carrasco picked him
out from the left flank. Vietto redirected the low cross past Julio Cesar to
secure the win.
Mitroglou scored when he received a ball from
former Atletico forward Raul Jimenez, held off Diego Godin and fired in a shot
off the post.