Atletico defeats Monaco 2-0, advances in Champions League

Monaco's Giulian Biancone heads the ball during a Group A Champions League soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Monaco at the Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

There was no letdown this time

MADRID — There was no letdown this time. Atletico Madrid is back in the knockout stage of the Champions League.

A year after a disappointing elimination in the group stage of the tournament, Atletico secured its spot in the next round by defeating Monaco 2-0 on Wednesday.

The comfortable victory gave Atletico a three-point lead over Borussia Dortmund, which hosts Club Brugge later Wednesday in the other Group A match. Monaco, which had arrived with no chances of advancing, missed a late penalty as former Atletico forward Radamel Falcao shot wide.

Jorge "Koke" Resurreccion and Antoine Griezmann scored first-half goals for Atletico, which had made it to the knockout phase for four straight years before last season's setback.

Atletico has been one of the most successful clubs in Europe in recent years, making it to the Champions League final in 2014 and 2016, and winning the Europa league last season.

It didn't waste time making sure there was no surprise elimination this time, taking the lead two minutes into the match at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Koke scored Atletico's fastest Champions League goal after his shot from outside the area deflected off the back of defender Benoit Badiashile and fooled Monaco goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.

Griezmann added to the lead in the 24th with a shot from inside the area after nice build-up play by Angel Correa through the left side.

Atletico was in control but Monaco had a chance to get back into the match when it was awarded an 82nd-minute penalty after Youri Tielemans' shot caught the hand of Stefan Savic inside the area, which also led to the defender being sent off with a second yellow card. But Falcao, who had entered the match early in the second half, sent his low shot from the spot wide as Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak dived the other way.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

___

Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

You may also like these

Boca-River Copa Libertadores final postponed...

Nov 25, 2018

The Copa Libertadores final between fierce Argentine rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate was...

In soccer-mad Argentina, women fight sexism and...

Feb 7, 2019

Macarena Sanchez takes a stand to turn female soccer professional in Argentina

China hopes teenager could become first male...

Jan 27, 2017

In China, the women have enjoyed all the success in tennis, winning Grand Slam titles, Olympic gold...

Australia aims to halt Syria's World Cup charge...

Oct 9, 2017

Australia aims to end Syria's World Cup charge in Sydney playoff

Australia cricket coach Darren Lehmann to step...

Dec 25, 2017

Australia cricket coach Darren Lehmann won't renew his contract when it expires at the end of 2019

Sign up now!