3 Red Cards And 2 Bench-Clearing Brawls — Atlético Advances Using Its Favorite Script
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The dust has settled on Champions League Group B, where we started the day with Liverpool guaranteed top, Atlético at the bottom, Porto advancing as runner-up, switched to Milan in second after Zlatan's side took an early lead on Liverpool, went back to Porto in second after Mohamed Salah equalized and finally finished with Atlético advancing to the Round of 16 after Diego Simeone's men beat Porto 3-1 in a match that featured three red cards, three yellows and two bench-clearing brawls between minutes 67 and 75.
After a first half that foreshadowed the incredible shithousing to come — players falling at the slightest of touches and screaming in agony, players surrounding the referee on calls that were obviously correct and Luis Suárez in tears after being forced off with an injury in the 13th minute — things really kicked off after Antoine Griezmann gave Atlético the lead in the 56th.
It was only Atlético's fifth goal of this UCL campaign with Griezmann scoring four of them.
GRIEZMANN COMES UP HUGE IN A MUST WIN FOR ATLETICO(Via @CBSSportsGolazo)
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 7, 2021
From there the madness began, and it all centered around players fiercely defending their right to cradle the ball in the face of opponents who'd dare take it from them.
First it was Yannick Carrasco who refused, although Otávio eventually got it off him only to be shoved to the ground near the sidelines. Bench-clearing brawl No. 1 commenced.
Otávio, Ángel Correa and Pepe were all booked for their roles in the donnybrook.
No, harsh red but Carrasco was stupid to retaliate like that pic.twitter.com/1TtNbnk2jV— Has the Referee or VAR made a poor decision? (@PoorEPLreferees) December 7, 2021
Play finally resumed after a lengthy pause, but it was obvious that scores hadn't been settled. Porto's Wendell, who'd only entered the match in the 63rd minute, then claimed ownership of the football in the face of Matheus Cunha, who viewed himself as the rightful heir to the next throw-in.
Wendell shielded him off with an arm, Cunha threw himself to ground and Wendell was given a straight red. Bench-clearing brawl No. 2 began.
The Brazilian then tried to slyly continue playing despite being sent off, forcing the ref to get him off the pitch.
Porto's backup goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín was also given his marching orders from the bench.
But while Porto adopted the dark arts, Atlético was born in them. Correa made it 2-0 off a Griezmann feed in the 90th, and Rodrigo De Paul added another two minutes into stoppage time.
RODRIGO DE PAUL CALLS GAME pic.twitter.com/TqfDFuyTRN— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) December 7, 2021
Sérgio Oliveira converted a penalty at the death for Porto to make it 3-1, but Estádio do Dragão was left wondering what in the hell had just happened.
Champions League Group B Final Standings