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Atletico Madrid through to Champions League knockout stage

Atletico Madrid through to Champions League knockout stage

Two own goals plus a brilliant, hooked volley handed Atletico Madrid a 3-1 victory away over Feyenoord in Rotterdam on Tuesday and a place in the next round of the Champions League, while eliminating their Dutch hosts.

Feyenoord’s Lutsharel Geertruida put the ball into his own net after 14 minutes before Hermoso added a stunning second goal in the 57th, although Feyenoord pulled one back with 13 minutes left as Mats Wieffer headed home from a corner.

However, a second own goal four minutes later, this time from Santiago Gimenez, wrapped up the points for Atletico who moved top in Group E and claimed a knockout-stage berth.

They have 11 points, one more than Lazio, who also reached the last 16 on Tuesday by beating Celtic 2-0 in Rome, with their spot guaranteed by Feyenoord’s defeat.

Atletico had started two points clear of Feyenoord, making it a crucial encounter for both clubs, and defeat for the Dutch left them on six points, assured of third place in the group and a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Feyenoord, backed by a crowd who produced ear-popping noise at times, were always up against it after conceding early.

The ball went in off defender Geertruida after a moment of indecision as Marcos Llorente floated a speculative cross into the box and no one made an effort to attack it. The ball landed on the leg of the Feyenoord captain and into his own net.

PURE QUALITY

While there an element of the bizarre about the opener, Atleti’s second was pure quality as 20-year-old substitute Pablo Barrios, who had been on for a minute, found Hermoso who hooked the ball into the opposite corner of the goal on the volley.

It will have reminded Dutch fans of the goal Marco van Basten scored from a near impossible angle against the Soviet Union in the 1988 European Championship final.

“I was looking for it,” said Hermoso. “I didn’t really know where I was, but I more or less knew where the goal was and the ball went there.”

The strike came after Feyenoord had squandered an excellent chance to equalise when Quilindschy Hartman dispossessed Axel Witsel and squared for Mexican striker Santiago Gimenez, who was tackled right in front of goal by fullback Jose Maria Gimenez.

But the Dutch were suddenly back in the contest when Wieffer rose unchallenged to head home from a corner, setting up the prospect of an exciting final quarter hour.

Home hopes were short lived, however, as Nahuel Molina’s free kick was whipped in with pace and came off the top of the head of Santiago Gimenez into the net.

“Both own goals were unnecessary. We’ll have to learn from this,” added Wieffer.

Atletico can now make sure of top spot with a home draw in their last group game against second-placed Lazio on 13 December.

source: supersport

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