Madrid, Spain | THE INDEPENDENT | Atletico Madrid still have plenty to do to assure their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
The result, which came thanks to a Joao Felix goal for Atletico in the first half and a Thomas Muller penalty for Bayern four minutes from time, leaves the Spaniards needing to avoid defeat in next Wednesday’s visit to Red Bull Salzburg to make the knockout stages of the tournament.
Reigning champions Bayern traveled to Madrid already assured of qualification as group winners and consequently rested a host of key players, with the likes of Muller and Serge Gnabry on the bench.
Atletico controled the game in the first half, looking aggressive and crisp in their passing, but with Diego Costa and Luis Suarez again out through injury and COVID-19, they lacked a finishing touch to reward their control.
Angel Correa and Koke had early chances for the Spaniards, who took the lead in the 26th minute when Joao Felix kept his cool after good work from Marcos Llorente down the right.
Alexander Nubet in the Bayern goal did well to save from the Portuguese again before half-time and Felix hit the bar 15 minutes after the break, although the offside flag had been raised.
Gnabry and Muller came on for Bayern soon afterwards, while Jose Gimenez was replaced by Felipe in the Atletico defense after suffering a muscle injury.
Felipe hasn’t played much recently and his lack of sharpness was evident when he brought Muller down in the Atletico penalty area with five minutes left to play. Muller picked himself up and placed his spot kick past Jan Oblak to leave Atletico with work to do next week in Austria.
Elsewhere, Real Madrid’s European future also hangs in the balance after another disastrous display saw them beaten 2-0 away to Shakhtar Donetsk.