2022-23 UEFA Champions League, Group Stage
  • Kamal Sowah (82')

Club Brugge reach knockouts after draw with misfiring Atletico Madrid

Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Belgian side Club Brugge reached the Champions League knockouts after a 0-0 draw against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday guaranteed them a top-two spot in Group B.

Atletico squandered a string of chances as they extended their winless streak in the competition to three games as their passage to the round of 16 hangs delicately in the balance with two games to play.

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Antoine Griezmann started after Atletico and Barcelona reached a deal for his permanent transfer, but the France striker couldn't give the hosts the spark they needed at the Metropolitano Stadium.

Griezmann had one of Atletico's best scoring chances, but couldn't capitalize. The hosts also came close with a late close-range shot by Alvaro Morata that hit the face of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet before going wide, and Matheus Cunha also missed from close range in stoppage time.

Former Liverpool keeper Mignolet made several saves throughout the match to stop Atletico's attack and was thrilled for his side after the match.

"This is a dream! We fought until the end and we finally did it," Mignolet said. "In previous years, it just didn't work out for us. We felt this year would be different -- and now qualification is ours.

"But our story doesn't end here: let's see how far we can go."

Griezmann hasn't scored in nine straight matches for club and country, since a crucial late winner in Atletico's 2-1 win against Porto in the group-stage opener in September more than a month ago.

Club Brugge have been one of the surprises of the group stage so far with three straight victories. It needed at least a draw to follow up on Gent's qualification to the last 16 in 2015-16 to become only the second Belgian club to reach the knockout rounds in Champions League history.

Atletico are trying to avoid elimination in the group stage for the first time since 2017-18 and have advanced in eight of the last nine seasons.

Brugge defeated Atletico 2-0 in the previous round for their 14th Champions League win, a record among Belgian teams in the competition, surpassing the mark previously set by Anderlecht.

In the next round, Club hosts Porto, while AtlΓ©tico entertain Leverkusen.

Atleti are third on four points, six behind the Belgians and two back from Porto while leading Bayer Leverkusen, who lost to Porto on Wednesday, by a single point.

Brugge were lively in the first half but ran out of steam after the break and then held on in the closing stages as Atletico tried in vain to open up the visitors, who had Kamal Sowah sent-off late on.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.