Atletico ends Galatasaray’s Champions League dreams
AA PhotoAtletico Madrid eased through to the Champions League round of 16 with a game to spare and eliminated Galatasaray when Antoine Griezmann’s double secured a 2-0 win at home over the Turkish side in Group C on Nov. 25.
Atletico, the 2014 runner-up, needed only a draw to progress and its comfortable victory at the Calderon stadium put the club level on 10 points at the top of the group with Benfica and ahead of the Portuguese club on goal differential.
Benfica, which hosts Atletico in the sixth and final round of games next month with the top spot up for grabs, fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Kazakh side Astana earlier on Nov. 25.
Galatasaray has four points in third place, while Astana is on three points in fourth.
“There’s no need to write about our demise just yet,” the Istanbul club’s interim coach, Claudio Taffarel, said after the game.
“Galatasaray have quality players but we made the game difficult for ourselves. Our opponents outran and outfought us. We needed to react in kind. If you want to achieve something in the Champions League, you need to increase your tempo and prepare yourself physically and mentally.”
Galatasaray has agreed to terms with Mustafa Denizli as the club’s new coach after sacking Hamza Hamzaoğlu last week. The experienced coach watched the Atletico game in the stands, and will take over the helm of the club after signing a contract on Nov. 26.
The club will continue its European campaign in the Europa League if it does not lose at home against Astana in the group’s last game on Dec. 8.