Madrid - Atletico Madrid kept their slim chances of
Champions League progress alive as Antoine Griezmann snapped an eight-game goal
drought in spectacular fashion with an overhead kick to help see off Roma 2-0
Kevin Gameiro added a second five minutes from time for
Atletico, who still need Roma to drop points at home to Azerbaijani champions
Qarabag and to beat the already-qualified Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on
December 5 to reach the last 16.
"We will try until the end. We knew it was important to
win today and now we'll see what happens," Griezmann told BeIN Sports
However, the relief around the Wanda Metropolitano was
palpable as Atletico at least ended a five-game winless streak at their new 68 000-capacity
"There is still a game to go and, until the 90 minutes
is over, we have to think positively," said Atletico boss Diego Simeone.
Twice finalists in the past four seasons, Atletico's remote
chances of reaching the last 16 took another blow before kick-off as Chelsea
swept aside 10-man Qarabag 4-0 in Baku to secure their place in the knockout
The English champions, on 10 points, are now also in pole
position to go through as group winners with Roma on eight and Atletico two
points further adrift.
"We can't forget who we were playing against, they are
a historic team in this competition," said Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco.
"It is an honour to be playing to qualify with one game
to go. This defeat will help us improve and I saw things that I liked despite
Despite a far from full stadium, those that did make it to
the game showed their support for the under-fire Griezmann, who was jeered off
by some supporters in Saturday's goalless Madrid derby, by chanting his name
from the start.
"I think the night started well with the support from
the fans," added Simeone.
"We fed off that positive energy, we found ourselves
again and we found an Antoine who is a special player, and got back to playing
a great match."
As they have for much of this season, Atletico lacked
inspiration before half-time and, even when they did put the ball in the net,
didn't have luck on their side.
Augusto Fernandez's deflected effort looped into the far
corner four minutes before the break, but Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers
controversially ruled the goal out for a handball as the Argentine controlled
Simeone showed some attacking intent early in the second
half as he sacrificed Fernandez for the more forward-thinking Angel Correa.
However, Atletico were nearly undone at the other end in
bizarre circumstances when Radja Nainggolan's mishit cross came off Jan Oblak's
near post with the surprised Slovenian scrambling back to cover his goal.
Correa's presence paid off though, as he was key to
Griezmann's moment of magic 21 minutes from time.
The Argentine stretched to loft a cross from the byline to
the back post, where the ball found Griezmann unmarked and ready to contort his
body and smash home a spectacular overhead opener.
Atletico's task was made even easier seven minutes from time
when Bruno Peres was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Filipe
And two minutes later Gameiro made the game safe when he
raced onto Griezmann's pass and rounded Alisson before calmly slotting home
from a narrow angle as Atletico scored twice in a match for the first time in
two months and gave themselves a chance of salvation at Chelsea next month.