Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Atletico held 2-2 at Vicente Calderon.

Prolific Porto striker Lisandro leveled twice as Atletico were held to a 2-2 draw in their Champions League first-leg tie at Vicente Calderon.

Atletico rode their luck for large chunks of this game due to some poor defending but they twice led through first half goals from Maxi Rodriguez and Diego Forlan but Lisandro cancelled out these deficits to setup a fascinating return leg in Portugal.

Unsurprisingly there was a frenetic start to this match containing teams from Spain and Portugal with Porto squandering a chance to put Atletico on the back foot in the opening minutes when Cristian Rodriguez saw his shot blocked from close range after a lively break from the visitors.

A goal at this stage could have had serious consequences for the ailing home side but Rodriquez’s miss was the prelude to the Spanish club claiming the lead after a sweeping move saw Aguero slip the ball into the path of Maxi Rodriguez to net at the far post in the third-minute.

It fell to Lisandro to wipe out the deficit when he unleashed a grubber from the edge of the penalty box following a dreadful mistimed Atletico header and goalkeeper Leo Franco could only apply a weak hand to the ball as it made its way past him in the 22nd-minute.

Mistakes of that nature are manner to heaven for this striker who took his tally to five goals in seven Champions League outings this season and Lisandro failed to add a sixth when he shot straight at the goalkeeper three minutes later.

Hulk was never green with rage but he did not have his shooting boots on as he squandered a guilt-edge chance after he raced through the Atletico rearguard only to then put his shot too close to Franco who saved with his left glove.

English referee Howard Webb tried to keep the play moving but when necessary he brandished yellow cards to keep a lid on the proceedings with Raul Garcia and Cristian Sapunaru both going into the notebook in the first half.

Helton then produced another goalkeeping howler to enter the mighty tome of European keeper blunders when Forlan cut in from the right and his shot went through the hands of the Brazilian like knife through butter and into an exposed goal to put Atletico back into an unlikely lead in the final minute of first half stoppage-time.

A curious two-minute spell on the resumption saw the unmarked Lisandro pull the trigger and send his shot over the crossbar from close range and this was followed by the home team withdrawing the classy Sergio Aguero for Florent Sinama-Pongolle in the 56th-minute.

Lisandro did make it six of the best for himself when he evaded his marker to slot home from close range following a determined run and low cross supplied by Florent Cissohko in the 72nd-minute to silence the home faithful.

Porto wound down the clock with two late substitutions which included the withdrawal of double-scorer Lisandro as the Portuguese side made sure they came away from the Spanish capital with a 2-2 draw to put them in a strong position for the return leg.

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