In unpredictable added time, out of all logic, subdued as Atlético de Madrid had been for almost the entire game and saved by Jan Oblak, Antoine Griezmann emerged in the last play of the duel to clinch the agonizing victory of his team back in minute 101winner of the russian roulette which was played in the final moments, with Mario Hermoso’s 1-0 in ’91, Porto’s draw in ’95, due to a penalty committed by the center-back, the final apotheosis of ‘The Little Prince’.
Sentenced to the last half hour in each game, in a more than debatable strategy in sportsFor the 40 million that Atlético will have to pay to Barcelona if he plays at least 45 minutes in 50 percent of the games available between last and the current campaign, the French international appeared to be as decisive as he has not been remembered for a long time. , to give a triumph that no one intuited in the Metropolitano and that hides all the incessant doubts that the rojiblanco team showed.
Until then, Oblak, in doubt all week due to a severe bruise on his left thigh, had been the only certainty in the goalless draw, to nothing by the rojiblanco team, through which the Madrid team passed until added time, until an ending that appeals to the epic and madness of a group that was difficult to understand during the previous hour and a half of football.
In the recent routine of the rojiblanco team in recent times in the highest European tournament, the Metropolitan appears as a dark territory for himhe; the approach of the rivals suppose an irresolvable hieroglyph and the fiasco is latent almost in each set, on the verge this Wednesday of the defeat, first, and of the tie, later, but winner in the wire when nobody expected it.
At minute 16, Simeone called Koke to spread your correction across the entire right band. Something did not add up in the game for the coach, who watched the game, first, from the pressure. Warned by the match a year ago on the same stage against Porto, by how the Portuguese team then oppressed the rojiblanco block in each of its lines, the coach protected himself when the ball came out.
The slogan was visible from minute 1. Jan Oblak never took short, in doubt since Saturday due to a severe bruise on his left thigh and starting this Wednesday. He kicked up every serve from his goal. At the slightest attempt to play it from below, Porto positioned themselves in higher sectors of the field. A notice. Later he located Joao Félix in a starting area to the left that worked for him for a while. Three plays. Ten minutes. At the beginning.
As soon as his adversary detected it, he immediately reduced the animosity, speed and talent of the ‘Menino de Ouro’, with the effect on the entire team, which was left with an insubstantial sensation in its attack, without a midfield fang to forward, no blending, no precision, and no overflow. Without Joao little or nothing happens. His turn is the only determining resource that his team proposes today. With him, even with great intermittence, the rival perceives the restlessness to the same extent that the rojiblanco team feels powerful.
There, the beginning of the course discusses Yannick Carrasco, whose unbalanced change of pace is sporadic today (he was changed at halftime by Lemar). And he exposes a predictable midfield, without Koke Resurrection losing a position that reduces his forward vision; without Marcos Llorente being the one he was two seasons ago in his reunion with the inside right and without Saúl being the solution, because his best qualities of arrival and strength are barely perceived in the area. Neither are Geoffrey Kondogbia or De Paul.who started on the bench. Yes it seems to be Axel Witselbut he is so crucial as a central defender that he has not yet moved to midfield.
But, even above, stands out the obvious -and recurring- problem that suffers in the right lane. Since he left Trippier, Simeone has not found anyone so expressive in that position. Marcos Llorente is not, because it is not his demarcation and he contributes more from other places, but it does not seem remotely so today -with three games already played-, Simeone’s priority choice in the market for Nahuel Molina. Just arrived, he has a long way to go to be -or seem- what is expected of him. Neither in attack – imprecise, without confidence, without daring – nor in defense, surpassed by his opponents. It was detected by Porto, who delved into the wound whenever he could, with the one on one that Galen searched and won a few times. He was replaced at halftime by De Paul.
What’s more, moment by moment, meter by meter, beyond a quarter of an hour, the Portuguese team was much more clear about what they were playing than Atlético. If it weren’t for Oblak, attentive to Evanilson, it would have been worse. Or if Taremi had found a finisher after the detour he made to Giménez, also below the height that he has had in other times in the center of the defense of Simeone’s scheme.
At the break you already felt some anger from the fans. When both teams took the path of the locker room tunnel, whatever the perspective, the vision was unequivocal in the same direction that the Portuguese team had won the match, without fanfare, with hardly any chances, some because Axel Witsel read the time to intervene. From minute 10 to intermission, Atlético was an indefinite groupwho doesn’t really know what he wants.
The rojiblanco team had only shot on goal once in the entire first half, through Koke, who was also the first to shoot into the opposite frame in the second half: a poor clearance by Porto left the ball loose on the edge of the area , the captain accommodated his right foot with everything in his favor to lodge it in the net, next to the post, unattainable for Diogo Costabut invalidated because before, at the beginning, De Paul started from a clear offside position.
Simeone lamented on the bench, who stirred up his team with the aforementioned additions of From Paul and Lemar and that he sighed when Jan Oblak flew to clear Uribe’s threatening shot. The Slovenian goalkeeper and the severe contusion he suffered on Saturday passed the test with flying colors, with a final stretch that hid the bad look he had had for a long time for Atlético, entrusted to an individuality (he brought in Antoine Griezmann, again to half an hour from the conclusion so that it does not count for the 40 million that Atlético should pay to Barcelona) … Or to an error by his opponent.
Uribe’s right hand went off again and set off the alarms, triggered when Oblak denied the goal to Joao Mario in a frank, solitary volley, which exposed the entire defensive structure of Atlético, which was neither intuited nor expected from the other area, in a desperate fight against the absence of Álvaro Morata, who did not enjoy any ball ready for the shot in the 67 minutes he played, changed by Mario Hermoso, a center back, to relocate the puzzle for the final offense (or defense).
That change already sounded strange to the public, even more so the following one: the substitution of Joao Felix by Angel Correawith loud and unequivocal anger for the change of Simeone, with twenty minutes to go in a game that Atlético never seemed to win, who had not lost before to Oblak, played in numerical superiority due to Taremi’s clumsiness, expelled for jumping into the 82nd minute, and who suddenly won to start the Champions League with victory four years later.
Atletico Madrid, 2: Oblak; Molina (De Paul, m. 46), Giménez, Witsel, Reinildo, Carrasco (Lemar, m. 46); Llorente, Koke, Saúl (Griezmann, m. 60); Joao Félix (Correa, m. 70), Morata (Hermoso, m. 67).
Porto, 1: Diogo Costa; Pepê (Joao Mario, d. 61), Pepe, Carmo, Zaidu; Otavio (Bruno Costa, m. 77), Eustaquio, Uribe, Galeno (Verón, m. 88); Evanilson (Toni Martínez, m. 77) and Taremi.
Goals: 1-0, m. 91: Beautiful. 1-1, m. 95: Uribe, from a penalty. 2-1, m. 101: Griezmann.
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland). He expelled Taremi for a double yellow card (m. 81). He admonished the locals Koke (m. 55) and Hermoso (m. 94) and the visitors Pepê (m. 52) and Joao Mario (m. 67).
Incidents: match corresponding to the first day of group B of the Champions League, played at the Metropolitano stadium before 51,777 spectators.