Griezmann's goals send Atletico into CL knockout phase

MADRID (AP) " Atletico Madrid reached the knockout stage of the Champions League after Antoine Griezmann pounced in stoppage time to score his second goal of the night and seal a dramatic 2-1 victory over Russian side Rostov on Tuesday.

Griezmann grabbed the winner for last season's runners-up when a hopeful long pass was headed on by a Rostov defender, and the France forward managed to toe the ball into the net off the underside of the crossbar.

The referee awarded the goal after speaking to his linesman, apparently to make sure the ball was headed back by a Rostov player, which meant Griezmann was not off-side when he made contact.

Atletico now leads Group D with a maximum 12 points from four games.

Bayern Munich has nine points after beating PSV Eindhoven 2-1 in the other group match. Rostov and PSV both have one point.

Griezmann's opening goal in the 28th-minute was an acrobatic beauty. And it too came from an unintentional assist by a Rostov player.

Seeing Yannick Carrasco's pass headed back toward the goal by a defender, the striker pivoted in the air and used his left shin to lift the ball over goalkeeper Soslan Dzhanaez.

Rostov equalized two minutes later through Sardar Azmoun and the Champions League debutant was clinging on to the point despite being pinned down for the entire second half until Griezmann's late strike.

"They made it tough for us, but the most important thing is that we got the three points," Griezmann said. "We are top of the group and have two games left. We want to finish as group leaders."

Griezmann, who was critical to Atletico's run to last season's final, took his overall goal tally to eight for this campaign. The two goals were his first in this season's Champions League.

The Rostov goal that ruined goalkeeper Jan Oblak's run of three clean sheets in Europe was the result of two errors" first a bad pass, followed by poor marking " that are uncharacteristic of a team coached by Diego Simeone.

But Simeone's criticism was only for his own coaching decisions, without specifying his mistakes.

"As coach, I didn't have a good game," Simeone said. "My players did. I made bad decisions, but my players pulled it out the best way possible, with pride."

___ This story has been corrected to show the last name of the Rostov scorer is Azmoun, not Armoun.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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