Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke (L) and his teammate Antoine Griezmann celebrate the opening goal of their team during the UEFA Champions League match against Monaco at the Metropolitano stadium on Wednesday. Photo: Collected

A year after a disappointing elimination in the group stage of the tournament; Atletico secured its spot in the next round by defeating Monaco 2-0 on Wednesday, reports AP.
The comfortable victory gave Atletico a three-point lead over Borussia Dortmund, which hosts Club Brugge later Wednesday in the other Group A match. Monaco, which had arrived with no chances of advancing, missed a late penalty as former Atletico forward Radamel Falcao shot wide. Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion and Antoine Griezmann scored first-half goals for Atletico, which had made it to the knockout phase for four straight years before last season’s setback. “We needed to take this step forward,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. “Since the start of this Champions League the team has been fully focused as a consequence of what happened last season.”
“After what happened last year, the most important thing for us was to make it to the next round,” said Griezmann, who has scored 11 goals in his last 11 Champions League games at home. “Now we have one final match to try to finish first in the group.” Atletico didn’t waste time making sure there was no surprise elimination this time, taking the lead two minutes into the match at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Koke scored Atletico’s fastest Champions League goal after his shot from outside the area deflected off the back of defender Benoit Badiashile and fooled Monaco goalkeeper Diego Benaglio. Griezmann added to the lead in the 24th with a shot from inside the area after nice build-up play by Angel Correa through the left side.
Atletico was in control but Monaco had a chance to get back into the match when it was awarded an 82nd-minute penalty after Youri Tielemans’ shot caught the hand of Stefan Savic inside the area, which also led to the defender being sent off with a second yellow card. But Falcao, who had entered the match early in the second half, sent his low shot from the spot wide as Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak dived the other way.
Monaco improved and had a few more chances in the final minutes, but was not able to pull closer.