With Bayern Munich suffering a shock 3-2 defeat against Rostov earlier in the afternoon, Atletico Madrid knew they could secure first place in Group D against PSV Eindhoven and they duly did so, with second half strikes from Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann earning a 2-0 win.
Having suffered an ugly 3-0 loss in last weekend’s Madrid derby, Diego Simeone made some adjustments to his lineup, as Jose Maria Gimenez came in at centre-back for the unconvincing Stefan Savic, while Sime Vrsaljko took Juanfran’s right-back spot for the second consecutive Champions League game.
There were also changes in midfield, with Koke shifted out to the left flank, with Yannick Carrasco unleashed on the right and with Gabi partnered by his long-time central midfield sidekick Tiago Mendes.
The new-look Atletico clicked straight away, with a number of chances falling to Los Rojiblancos in the opening ten minutes.
Carrasco whipped in an excellent ball from his new flank in the seventh minute, but Gameiro fired wide from just a couple of yards out, much to the disbelief of the raucous home crowd.
Griezmann saw an effort from the edge of the area trickle past the post a minute later, before Diego Godin had a header saved by Jeroen Zoet at an Atleti free-kick.
Koke was next to knock on the door before the Dutch side responded with a lightning counter attack, only for Gaston Pereiro to tamely shoot into Jan Oblak’s hands under pressure from the chasing Griezmann.
Davy Propper also threatened for the visitors, but his curled effort in the 33rd minute whistled past the wrong side of the post.
That was the last real sight of goal for either team in the first half, but Atletico started the second period just as brightly as they had the first, with Gameiro and Koke both probing in the first couple of minutes.
Gimenez then nodded another ball towards Gameiro at a corner, but it was the Frenchman who ended up in the back of the net, while the ball missed his diving head and bounced wide.
It was proving to be a frustrating night for the centre-forward, but his perseverance was rewarded in the 55th minute when Griezmann sent him through on goal and with Zoet unable to extend his fingernails enough to divert the summer recruit’s low angled finish.
Ten minutes later Griezmann grabbed a goal of his own, finishing smartly when released by the excellent Tiago to equal Luis Aragones’ club-record 12 Champions League goals.
It was comfortable for Los Colchoneros from that point onwards and Gameiro even came close to scoring another when his header smudged the crossbar.
Yet it would finish 2-0, enabling Los Rojiblancos to travel to Munich on matchday six already certain of the top spot.
2 – Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Vrsaljko, Godin, Gimenez, Filipe Luis (Juanfran, 76); Carrasco, Gabi, Tiago (Saul Niguez, 76), Koke; Griezmann, Gameiro.
0 – PSV Eindhoven: Zoet; Arias, Schwaab, Isimat, Moreno, Willems (De Wijs, 46); Propper (Lundqvist, 84), Ramselaar, Zinchenko; Pereiro, Bergwijn (Narsingh, 61).
Goals: 1-0 (min 55, Gameiro), 2-0 (min 66, Griezmann)
Referee: Aliaksei Kulbakov (Belarus)
Stadium: Estadio Vicente Calderon