MADRID (AP) — With Antoine Griezmann loudly jeered by the home fans, Atlético Madrid couldn’t manage more than a 0-0 draw against Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Griezmann, back with Madrid after two seasons with rival Barcelona, came off the bench in the second half but couldn’t spark the hosts to victory. He was booed before the match and when he came onto the field, with most in the crowd at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium expressing their discontentment with how the France forward left the club.
Many fans in the crowd of nearly 40,000 applauded Griezmann but they were not nearly as loud as those who protested. Griezmann played five seasons with Atlético before leaving when Barcelona paid 120 million euros ($141 million) for him.
“Everyone is making a big deal out of this situation,” Atlético coach Diego Simeone said. ”Hopefully he will keep improving so he can answer those who are criticizing him now. He has a challenge ahead of him because of what happened in the past.”
In the other Group B match, Liverpool defeated AC Milan 3-2 at home. Porto next hosts Liverpool, while Atlético visits Milan.
Atlético was near the Porto area most of the match but couldn’t capitalize on its chances. Luis Suárez, João Félix and Ángel Correa also weren’t able to break the deadlock for the hosts.
“We tried until the end but unfortunately things didn’t goal our way,” Atlético goalkeeper Jan Oblak said. “Porto defended well and was dangerous in the counterattacks.”
Porto had its chances in the second half, hitting the post and having an 80th-minute goal disallowed for a handball inside the area after a mistake by the Atlético defense. The ball was already on its way toward the goal when it just barely touched the hand of forward Mehdi Taremi as he fell by the goal line.
“Luckily the VAR saw the hand, they almost scored off our mistake,” Oblak said. “We need to maintain our focus until the end.”
Porto defender Chancel Mbemba was sent off for a foul on Griezmann in stoppage time.
“It is a point won but we wanted to win all three,” Porto coach Sérgio Conceição said. “We knew about Atlético’s individual quality and it was a very competitive game, as I expected. We created more danger and the best opportunities were ours.”
Simeone started with Félix in attack along with Suárez but the Portugal forward was not a factor and was substituted by Griezmann in the 56th. Félix was making only his second appearance this season after recovering from an ankle injury.
The result kept Porto unbeaten in its last six group stage matches in the Champions League, with six clean sheets.
Porto advanced past the group stage in each of its last four Champions League appearances, including last season when it stunned Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus in the round of 16 before being eliminated by eventual champion Chelsea in the quarterfinals.
Atlético is unbeaten in its last 12 home matches in the group stage of the Champions League, with its last loss against Chelsea in 2017. The Spanish club has lost only one of its last 30 European games at home.
Atlético lost midfielder Thomas Lemar in the first half because of an apparent injury, while Porto’s Pepe had to leave the match in the second half.
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