In Summary
  • An open but tightly fought battle in the Stadio Olimpico confirmed Group C will be a three-way battle for qualification after Chelsea punished Azerbaijani newcomers Qarabag 6-0.
  • Numerous saves by Alisson, notably in the second half when Atletico were pushing hard, frustrated Diego Simeone's side as the Argentine coach returned to a stadium he knew well as a Lazio player.

ROME

A virtuoso display by Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker helped Roma hold Atletico Madrid to a 0-0 draw on Tuesday in their Champions League group-stage opener.

An open but tightly fought battle in the Stadio Olimpico confirmed Group C will be a three-way battle for qualification after Chelsea punished Azerbaijani newcomers Qarabag 6-0.

Numerous saves by Alisson, notably in the second half when Atletico were pushing hard, frustrated Diego Simeone's side as the Argentine coach returned to a stadium he knew well as a Lazio player.

"We have to compliment the goalkeeper, as Alisson did a great job," Simeone told Italian television after the game.

"The shots were on target, aside from Saul hitting the woodwork, as otherwise he had saves on Koke, two or three on Saul - he had a wonderful performance.

"The most important thing in football is not aesthetics, but goals, and we lacked a goal, so Roma deserved their point. I hope this point can be valuable for the future so we continue in the Champions League."

Italian coach Eusebio Di Francesco conceded Roma were struggling with their fitness levels.

"We had an excellent first half. We dropped off a bit then, notably physically, but I'm satisfied the team responded well to this suffering," said Di Francesco.

"It's a positive result against a great team. They played two finals in four years while we're still under construction.

"For 50 minutes I saw excellent football on our side, with character. Of course we can improve our physical condition. I love Spanish football, it's a role model to follow."

Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson proved decisive in defying Luciano Vietto, Saul Niguez early in the second half and two Angel Correa searing efforts on 64 and 83 minutes and another Saul header in time added on.

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