Atletico Madrid 0-0 Club Brugge: Belgians hang on to reach knockouts
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Ryan Benson
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Simon Mignolet played a key role for Club Brugge on Wednesday
Simon Mignolet played a key role for Club Brugge on Wednesday

Club Brugge have reached the Champions League knockout stages for the first time after a hard-fought 0-0 draw away to Atletico Madrid.

The Belgian champions had failed to get out of the group in each of their previous nine participations, but Wednesday's stalemate ensured they created club history.

Atletico gave them a helping hand as Diego Simeone's men failed to make the most of their chances in the first half, though Brugge were somewhat unfortunate to see a penalty overturned on the stroke of half-time.

While the second period was even more one-sided in Atletico's favour, Los Colchoneros could not break the deadlock even after Kamal Sowah's dismissal, meaning Porto or Bayer Leverkusen could usurp them in second later on Wednesday.

Both sides threatened amid an entertaining opening, though Atletico created the best opportunity as Angel Correa flashed across goal following a smart one-two with Koke.

Simon Mignolet then denied Antoine Griezmann in the 25th minute, acrobatically tipping a header over with Atletico piling pressure on.

But Brugge burst into life just before the break.

Andreas Skov Olsen fed Tajon Buchanan into the box on the counter and a clumsy Nahuel Molina challenge led to a penalty award.

However, referee Danny Makkelie changed his mind after viewing a replay, deeming the Brugge man to have caused the collision by standing on his opponent's foot.

Correa had a goal disallowed for a blatant offside just after the restart, and Mignolet read a Griezmann lob a few minutes later to bail out a Dennis Odoi error.

Sowah's late red for petulantly kicking the ball away left Brugge on the ropes, but two incredible Mignolet saves – one with his face – allowed Brugge to celebrate a historic achievement.

What does it mean? – Brugge go where they have never been before

It was a hugely disappointing result from Atletico's perspective, but the story here is Club Brugge.

Getting into the knockout phase for the first time is an achievement in itself, but the context around that fact makes the feat even more impressive.

They have secured progress with two matches to spare and have not conceded a single goal. This will be a day that lives long in the memory of Brugge fans.

Simon saves

What a performance from the goalkeeper. Not only did he make nine saves – the fourth-most for a Champions League match this season – those saves prevented 2.7 goals.

According to Opta's xGOT (expected goals on target) metric – since March 2016, only two goalkeepers have prevented more goals in a single Champions League game.

Griez frightening

Having just secured a permanent switch at Atletico, Griezmann will no doubt have wanted to light up the Metropolitano here.

And, in fairness, he was certainly lively, but he had eight shots – five on target – and still failed to score. He just could not get past Mignolet.

What's next?

Atletico will hope to boost their progression hopes at home to Leverkusen in two weeks' time, while Brugge will look to win the group when Porto visit Belgium the same day.

Tags

Atletico MadridClub BruggeChampions League
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