Atletico reaches Champions 2nd round with win
MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid secured its place in the knockout stage of the Champions League with a convincing 4-0 victory over Austria Vienna on Wednesday.
Miranda, Raul Garcia, and Filipe Luis all but secured Atletico’s passage to the last 16 with goals by halftime before Diego Costa made up for a second-half penalty miss with an 82nd-minute strike at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.
Atletico’s club-record fourth straight victory in Europe’s top-tier competition allowed it to clinch Group G with 12 points. Zenit St-Petersburg is second with five points and FC Porto is third with four points following their 1-1 draw. Austria Vienna has one point.
“I’m happy because we knew beforehand that Porto and Zenit had drawn so we knew the chance was there to finish first,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. “We had this pressure upon us and the players secured it in the first half with goals.”
The scoring started in the 11th minute when Vienna failed to clear Koke’s corner kick and the ball eventually landed to Miranda, who shot from inside the box.
Costa was given time and space along the right side and picked out Garcia with a cross into the area in the 25th, and the Spanish midfielder angled it home with the back of his head as two defenders watched the play unfold.
Luis Filipe capped the dominant first half by poking home the deflection from Adrian Lopez’s shot as Austria Vienna’s defense again slackened.
In the 75th, Manuel Ortlechner slid straight through Christian Rodriguez for a penalty but Costa weakly hit to the right for goalkeeper Heinz Lindner to save.
The Brazilian-born, Spanish striker made up for the miss seven minutes later by capping a sweeping attack started by substitute Oliveira Torres when he curled home his third goal of the competition after latching on to Garcia’s smart backheel pass.
Austria Vienna created few opportunities as it remains without a goal in the competition.
Atletico, which did not need to take striker David Villa off the bench, has won 14 of its 15 games overall since the Spanish Supercup in August.
“We try to play every game the same way,” Simeone said.