That Kondogbia being the best Atletico player is not usually good news. Not because the Frenchman is not a great footballer, but because that means there has been a short circuit upstairs. Simeone has a fantastic roster of attackers, with forwards who handle all the records, but not a single one of those who intervened in the game – all except the Brazilian Cunha– It lived up to what the first day of the Champions League was asking for. The result was a disappointing 0-0, but the drama flew over the Metropolitan when at 80 minutes the Iranian Taremi He took advantage of a rude mistake by Giménez and Kondogbia to send the ball to the back of the net. The 0-1 seemed irreversible, but the VAR discovered that in his fall the forward had brushed the ball with his hand. It was a small miracle that prevented a distress that could have been decisive for the future rojiblanco in the most demanding competition in the world.
In a group as demanding as this, any failure throws you out. Especially at home, where it is forbidden to waver. It was Atletico’s first commandment, adding three against Porto, a common enemy who already knows what it is to win in Madrid and who has never made things easy for Atlético. This Porto is as coral as the team of Simeone. A coaching team that last season humiliated Juventus from Cristiano Ronaldo and who could only be eliminated by the future champion, Chelsea. All a bone to boot a competition that in recent years has stalled the rojiblancos.
Five minutes it took Luis Suarez in pulling out the fangs. The Uruguayan tested Diogo Costa from outside the area after a pass from Lemar. The young Portuguese goalkeeper did not have too many problems, but it was the first warning from an Atlético that did not miss the opportunity to mark the territory. That was precisely the goal of the Cholo: intimidating from the beginning a limited opponent on the wings but with plenty of talent at the top who had to try to lock up in their area.
That’s why he appeared in the eleven for the first time Joao Felix, having first-hand knowledge of the individual defects of the great historical rival of “his” Benfica. The plan seemed perfect, but there were loopholes. In the first place, in front there was another team that also plays and that has enough arguments to deactivate any plan against. In addition, this was not the night of Joao, who continues wasting one after another all the opportunities they give him. With the list of substitutes waiting their turn, it is convenient for you to react as soon as possible.
Porto did not take long to deactivate Atlético and show their nails. The Colombian Luis Diaz he sowed panic in his first intervention on the left and in the first outside corner kick the Serbian Marko Grujic he rose above the entire defense and headed over the crossbar. With Mateus Uribe hierarchical in midfield, the Spanish champion was left without arguments while his rival did not stop growing. Simeone, concerned, immediately ordered to raise the pressure line. The only good news at minute 20 was that the entire left wing of the dragons she was admonished.
Precisely Luis Díaz and Zaidu, the two card players were the protagonists of the first great scoring opportunity of the night. At 27 minutes Carrasco and Lemar they got upset on the left wing and the ball ended up reaching the Colombian, who drew an extraordinary pass for the arrival of the Nigerian, who would have executed alone to cloud if not for the providential arrival of Kondogbia, that The penalty was played but ended up avoiding the Porto side’s shot.
By now Simeone was a nervous wreck. Atlético had disappeared in attack because not one of the players who are usually decisive in attack had shown signs of their presence. To make matters worse, at 35 minutes Lemar reached for his leg and looked sadly at the bench. The Frenchman went to the bench and the Argentine joined the party From Paul. Joao, inconsequential until that moment, stepped back to play the role of his injured teammate. The last chance to vindicate yourself for him boy, which has started the season as the previous one ended: being transparent. With Griezmann and Correa on the bench it was clear that Joao’s performance did not justify his continuing on the field in the second half.
Simeone kept the disappointing Portuguese midfielder out, but who did introduce moves was Conceiçao. It was too dangerous to keep Zaidu with a yellow card and he chose to enter the Brazilian Wendell on the left side so as not to risk being sent off that could have been decisive. The relief suited Porto very well, which went on to lock up an Atlético unable to get its head out. At 49 minutes otavio took a center from the right that It was closing to such an extent that the ball crashed into the post. The stadium silently followed the subsequent trajectory of the ball, which passed between the two Portuguese strikers without either being able to introduce it into Oblak’s goal.
There Cholo’s patience ran out. Joao, who completed his disastrous performance with a yellow card, left his place to Griezmann, received by the stands with division of opinions. However, the coach did not stop there. Handsome and Boil they also went to the bench and entered Lodi and Correa to convert the team into a 4-4-2 with which he wanted to change the dynamics of a game that looked worse and worse. In addition to all this, Porto had suffered an unexpected blow: Pepe, limping from the first half, he could not take it anymore and left his place to Marcano.
The changes tamed the Portuguese, who kept the revolver and decided to protect themselves. For the first time, Carrasco had options in the one-on-one game, but he was not able to repeat the luck of last Sunday at Cornellà. Anyway, it was clear that the party had been shaken and things were starting to happen. At 67 minutes, Atlético’s first real opportunity came in a cross shot by Correa that forced Diogo Costa to show the best of his repertoire. Simeone jumped like a spring and demanded more intensity from the stands. For the first time all night it seemed like it was possible to win.
However, sadly it was just a mirage. Porto put the game back in its place and even brought Metropolitano to the brink of a heart attack when Taremi sent a rebound to the net after an inadmissible error by Kondogbia and Giménez. The VAR, which last year validated the goal of Giroud in Bucharest, this time he was more compassionate and ordered the referee to back down at the hands of the Iranian. The 0-1 would have possibly meant Atlético’s hasty goodbye to the round of 16. The 0-0 is not good at all, but at least it keeps a team in play that must improve radically in a group in which they will not be able to make many more mistakes.