On the night when Roma could have sealed their place in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, and ended Atletico Madrid’s by doing so, it was Antoine Griezmann who stole the show at the Wanda Metropolitano by helping Los Colchoneros to a 2-0 win.
The Frenchman scored the game’s opening goal with a brilliant overhead kick before Kevin Gameiro sealed the game with five minutes to play, leaving Atleti and the Italians with everything to play for in matchday six of this season’s competition.
Diego Simeone’s side looked to put their recent poor form behind them by getting into the faces of their visitors early on, but they were ultimately unable to find a way through. Former AC Milan forward Fernando Torres looked like his former self displaying great bursts of pace in the early stages, but Roma’s backline were relatively comfortable nonetheless.
There were a number of half-chances for both sides in the opening ten minutes, but the best early opportunity perhaps fell for Gerson. The forward fired a half-volley off target after a cleverly worked set-piece by the Giallorossi as both sides set out to get at one another.
Alisson was forced into action to deny Koke before the game started to slow down as it approached the half hour mark.
For what was left of the first half, the game descended into more of a scrappy affair than was originally promised, with both teams conceding fouls aplenty and really disrupting the flow of the game, which suited Roma whose primary objective was to avoid defeat.
Atletico returned extremely early for the second half, which suggested Simeone would have sparked a reaction in the second half, but it was not quite the case. The Rojiblancos were lacking in any real creative spark and the Roma defence were more than capable of dealing with whatever was thrown at them.
Radja Nainggolan came close to breaking the deadlock just after the hour mark. The Belgian was wide on the right when he spotted Jan Oblak leaving his near post unguarded, before attempting an audacious strike that cannoned back off the upright.
Roma again might have taken the lead 20 minutes into the second half had their strikers gambled on an Aleksandar Kolarov cross. The full-back got to the byline and drilled across goal, but Edin Dzeko or Gerson had expected his cross to make its way across goal, missing a golden opportunity for a tap into an open goal.
Antoine Greizmann finally found the net, ending his own personal drought, with an emphatic overhead kick; a delightful lobbed through ball from Torres found Angel Correa, who knocked it back up and across goal to the Frenchman who in turn athletically leapt with his back to goal and smashed the ball beyond the hopeless Alisson.
The Wanda Metropolitano responded to the goal and the atmosphere became electric. Torres himself came close shortly after but Alisson was equal to his effort, before Saul Niguez fired off target moments later.
Bruno Peres made his teammates’ task all the more difficult on 82 minutes when he was rightly dismissed after receiving a second yellow card for an ugly tackle on Filipe Luis.
Atleti then put the game beyond doubt when Gameiro got on the end of a sublime Griezmann slipped pass, taking it around Alisson before doing well to readjust his feet and slot home from a narrow angle.
Roma’s place in the next phase of the tournament is still very much in their own hands, however, and all they need to do is better Atleti’s result away to group leaders Chelsea when Eusebio Di Francesco’s side themselves host Qarabag on December 5.