Griez­mann strikes late

> French for­ward grabs win­ner as Atletico ad­vance

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

STAFF blamed burned chips af­ter Manch­ester City’s Eti­had Sta­dium was evac­u­ated be­fore yes­ter­day’s Cham­pi­ons League win over Barcelona.

EV­ER­TON STOKE’S CHELSEA’S

ANTOINE GRIEZ­MANN scored a 93rd­minute win­ner as Atletico Madrid se­cured their place in the last 16 of the Cham­pi­ons League yes­ter­day with a hard­fought 2-1 vic­tory over FC Ros­tov at the Vi­cente Calderon.

Griez­mann’s bril­liant volleyed ef­fort gave Atletico the lead just be­fore the half-hour mark, but Ros­tov im­me­di­ately replied through Sar­dar Az­moun.

Atletico strug­gled to cre­ate chances through­out, but got a break deep into added time when Griez­mann fired home and the goal was al­lowed to stand de­spite Ros­tov’s fu­ri­ous protests for off­side.

Vic­tory keeps Atletico three points clear of Bay­ern Mu­nich at the top of Group D.

The Ger­mans also qual­i­fied for the knock­out phase yes­ter­day with a 2-1 win at PSV Eind­hoven.

Atletico had scored 18 goals in win­ning their last five home games, but laboured against the Rus­sians’ deep-ly­ing de­fence.

The on-form Yan­nick Car­rasco found some rare space in be­hind the Ros­tov back line 18 min­utes in from Griez­mann’s fine through ball, but Soslan Dzhanaev rushed from his line to block the Bel­gian’s ef­fort.

Griez­mann opened the scor­ing in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion as he spun onto a de­flected ef­fort to flick the ball into the top corner with the out­side of his left foot.

How­ever, the lead lasted just two min­utes as Atletico were caught by a bril­liant Ros­tov counter-at­tack when Dmitri Poloz timed his pass into Az­moun to per­fec­tion and the Ira­nian slot­ted low past Jan Oblak.

It was the first time Atletico had con­ceded in the Cham­pi­ons League this sea­son and Ros­tov be­came only the sec­ond away team to score at the Calderon in the last 15 Euro­pean games.

The hosts dom­i­nated from then on, but lacked the cre­ativ­ity or phys­i­cal pres­ence up front to break down the Ros­tov wall of de­fend­ers.

Dzhanaev com­fort­ably smoth­ered low shots from Koke and Car­rasco, while Atletico coach Diego Sime­one ended the game with four for­wards on the pitch as Kevin Gameiro and An­gel Cor­rea joined Griez­mann and a for­lorn Fer­nando Tor­res.

How­ever, last sea­son’s fi­nal­ists needed the pres­ence of cen­tral de­fender Diego Godin when the win­ner did ar­rive in con­tro­ver­sial cir­cum­stances deep into in­jury time.

Griez­mann barely cel­e­brated as he con­verted what ap­peared to be Godin’s flickon off the un­der­side of the bar.

Yet, de­spite the off­side flag be­ing raised, Scot­tish ref­eree Craig Thom­son rightly iden­ti­fied the flick-on in fact came off a Ros­tov player, mean­ing Griez­mann couldn’t be in an off­side po­si­tion. – AFP

AFPPIX

will widen the seg­re­ga­tion be­tween home and away fans at Lon­don Sta­dium on Satur­day, when they host Stoke City, in a bid to pre­vent fur­ther crowd trou­ble.

winger Yan­nick Bo­lasie says he and striker Romelu Lukaku speak in Lin­gala, a lan­guage of the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo, so op­po­si­tion play­ers can­not un­der­stand what they say.

have been scout­ing Palmeiras’ 22-year-old de­fender Yerry Mina, but Barcelona have first op­tion on the Colom­bian. Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griez­mann (C) heads past Ros­tov’s de­fender De­nis Ter­en­tyev (L) and An­drei Pre­pelita dur­ing their UEFA Cham­pi­ons League Group D match at the Vi­cente Calderon sta­dium yes­ter­day. –

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