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Atletico held by Lokomotiv to leave qualification in doubt

Atletico Madrid’s qualification for the Champions League last 16 remains far from secure after they were held to a goalless draw at home to Lokomotiv Moscow on Wednesday.

Atletico remain second in Group A, two points ahead of Lokomotiv but with a game against Bayern Munich at the Wanda Metropolitano still to come next week.

Bayern secured top spot with a 3-1 victory over Salzburg.

Lokomotiv have to visit the reigning European champions in the final game while Atletico finish away at Salzburg, meaning it would still be a surprise if Diego Simeone’s side fail to reach the knock-out stages.

But this was a chance missed to take command of second place as Atletico created several chances against their Russian opponents but lacked a finishing touch.

“We lacked a bit of intensity, maybe a bit of freshness,” said Simeone. “The Champions League is getting a bit complicated for us. Hopefully we can decide the group in the next game and get through.”

“It is a shame not to have got the win,” added Saul Niguez. “The three points were important and we played well but we weren’t ruthless enough. It’s still in our hands.”

Koke saw a goal ruled out for offside in the second half while the in-form Joao Felix and Marcos Llorente both went close.

Luis Suarez, who was absent after testing positive for coronavirus, and Diego Costa, who has suffered a blood clot in his leg, might have helped break down a determined Lokomotiv defence.

Llorente was everywhere in the opening half an hour. He pulled back for Felix, who skewed his finish and then for Angel Correa, who connected but was blocked.

Llorente then shot twice himself, the first palmed away and the second saved too after some nice work down the right from Kieran Trippier.

Lokomotiv offered little going forward, their best chance falling to Ze Luis, who slipped through, then slipped over at the crucial moment.

But Atletico’s momentum stalled in the second half, with Simeone bringing on Thomas Lemar and switching to three at the back, before a Koke rebound was ruled out for offside on review.

Felix went down over Vladislav Ignatyev’s foot but the referee was right to decide there was not enough contact to warrant a penalty.

Stanislav Magkeev had a chance to nick it for Lokomotiv on the counter-attack but dragged wide. Jose Gimenez headed just past the post. Neither side could find a way through.

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