Atletico Madrid produced another defensively dogged display to beat Red Bull Salzburg 2-0 away and qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Austrians, who needed a win to qualify, were by far the better side with Mergim Berisha hitting the post early on as they spurned several opportunities.

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Diego Simeone, who welcomed back Luis Suarez into the line-up, saw his side soak up the pressure and score typically from a set-piece with Mario Hermoso glancing in a free-kick for his first goal for the club.

The home side continued to dominate and be wasteful in front of goal in the second period. Reported Arsenal target Dominik Szoboszlai and Rasmus Kristensen both failed to find the target from close range.

Enock Mwepu hit the post in the closing stages with a long-range effort for the hosts but the Liga leaders sealed victory through Yannick Carrasco's late volley to book their place in Monday's draw for the last 16 while Salzburg drop into the Europa League.

TALKING POINT

Was the result harsh on the Austrians? If Salzburg had their shooting boots on the game would have been done as a contest by half-time. They hit the woodwork once in either half and missed several chances from close range, failing to test Jan Oblak enough.

It was similar to the game against Bayern last month when they spurned several opportunities before Robert Lewandowski led the reigning champions to victory. Atletico did what they do best, kept plenty of men behind the ball, watch Salzburg do the pretty stuff and do enough to scrape a win, it was a Simeone masterclass.

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MAN OF THE MATCH

Stefan Savic (Atletico Madrid): In the absence of the experienced Jose Gimenez, the ex-Manchester City man stepped up on a busy evening for the Atletico defence. His tackling and organising of the back four was impressive throughout. He was also unfairly booked for a vintage crunching Simeone-type challenge.

PLAYER RATINGS

SALZBURG: Stankovic 6, Kristensen 7, Ramalho 6, Wöber 6, Ulmer 5, Junuzovic 5, Mwepu 7, Szoboszlai 6, Berisha 7, Koita 7, Daka 5. Subs: Okafor 5, Adeyemi n/a, Onguene n/a, Sucic n/a, Okugawa n/a.

ATLETICO MADRID: Oblak 8, Felipe 8, Savic 9, Hermoso 8, Trippier 7, Saul 5, Koke 5, Carrasco 8, Llorente 5, Felix 6, Suarez 5. Subs: Herrera 5, Correa 7, Torreira n/a, Lemar n/a, Lodi n/a.

KEY MOMENTS

2' - POST! The ball is flicked on for Berisha whose low curling effort hits the post with Oblak beaten.

39' - GOAL FOR ATLETICO! Felix is tripped on the left flan, no yellow given. Carrasco's delivery is headed in by Hermoso.

49' - WHAT A MISS! Szoboszlai trades passes and with only the keeper to beat strokes it inches wide of the goal!

77' - CHANCE! Mwepu's strike from distance hits the outside of the post, fantastic strike.

86' - GOAL FOR ATLETICO! On the counter, Carrasco tucks it into the bottom corner on the volley from Correa'a cross.

KEY STAT

  • Hermoso becomes the first Spanish defender to score for the Red-And-Whites in the Champions League.
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