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FC Porto lost to Atlético Madrid away (2-1) in a match for the Champions League settled after hours

What happened on Wednesday night in Madrid mirrored what happened a year ago both at the Metropolitano and at Dragão. In the opening matchday of Group B of the 2022/23 Champions League, FC Porto played, shot and had more chances to win than Atlético, but returned from the Spanish capital without points (2-1), with injuries (Otávio) and one less player for next week’s home match against Club Brugge.

Sérgio Conceição sent in Zaidu and Evanilson to the spots that were taken by Wendell and Toni Martínez in Barcelos and the best opportunity for the home team came right at the start, with a free-kick from Carrasco that went close to Diogo Costa’s top bar. The reply was swift and came in a similar way, with Otávio shooting long and wide. Ten minutes later, Matheus Uribe followed the lead, also missing, and what we saw until the break was a soft match, during which Pepe justified the praise of the thousands of blue and white fans that travelled to the nearby capital and in which both teams cancelled each other out, showing more concern in not making mistakes than in taking chances. The first-half ended with a good attacking initiative from Mehdi Taremi, who could (and should) have had the help of a teammate to finish it.

The start of the second-half was similar to the first, with Atlético on top, having a goal disallowed for offside, and FC Porto replying through Eustaquio, forcing Oblak to a great save. The Canadian international again aimed for the goal defended by the Slovenian goalkeeper and, fresh out of the dugout to replace Pepê, João Mário didn’t do the best to a great pass from the blue and white number 9. The waste for the Dragons continued and Otávio left the match on a stretcher, in pain, making room for Bruno Costa, who went along Toni Martínez, replacing Evanilson.

There was plenty of action in the final moments of the match. First, Taremi was shown his second yellow card after falling in the area, Gabriel Veron replaced the fatigued Galeno, and, in the second of the 9 minutes of stoppage time, the Colchoneros moved ahead of the scoreboard, thanks to a deflection to a shot from Hermoso, fooling Diogo Costa. Outnumbered and losing, the blue and whites went after the match, got a penalty for hand on the ball, which Uribe took for the 1-1, but fortune was not with FC Porto: a corner-kick for the home team in the last play of the match, the ball gets deflected on the way to the far post, where Griezmann was waiting to head it in. The final whistle from the Polish referee was heard immediately after that.

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