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Simao salvages point for Atletico
Atletico Madrid remained a point ahead in the chase for a consolation Europa League spot as Champions League Group D's strugglers drew at the GSP Stadium.

The draw was the Spaniards' third in five games in the group, with their hosts lagging a point behind. The Cypriots led for almost an hour but rarely looked like adding to their total, and it was no surprise when Simao levelled the scores just after the hour mark.

But they failed to push for a winner thereafter in a tame second half which had the air of a dead rubber about it. APOEL fired an early warning shot as Nuno Morais shot over with a speculative long-range effort.

But they were ahead a minute later as Nektarios Alexandrou crossed for Nenad Mirosavljevic to slot home at the near post. Atletico responded and Sergio Aguero and Simao both shot wide before Diego Forlan tested home keeper Dionissis Chiotis for the first time.

Chiotis also held Cleber Santana's effort before a scrappy spell littered with free-kicks ensued, with Alvaro Dominguez of Atletico booked for a foul on Kamil Kosowski. Jurado shot wide from 25 yards and Simao warmed Chiotis' hands from similar range before Forlan twice threatened an equaliser.

The Uruguay international's drive was blocked by defender Paulo Jorge and, when the resulting corner was not cleared, Forlan had a volley from just outside the box saved by Chiotis. Christos Kontis blocked Aguero's shot and Jurado failed to beat Chiotis as half-time arrived.

Jurado shot over moments after the break before APOEL roused themselves for an overdue attack, Mirosavljevic shooting over from 25 yards. Nacho Camacho and Jurado's ambitious drives flew wide before Juanito's block thwarted Alexandrou at the other end.

APOEL had, at least, been lured out of their shell once more and, after Forlan volleyed wide for the visitors, Kosowski shot over from long range. But the Cypriots were pegged back in the 62nd minute when Simao found space in the left of the penalty area to fire low past Chiotis and level the match at 1-1.

Both sets of players seemed to settle for their lot at that point, with a 15-minute lull before the next shot in anger, during which APOEL coach Ivan Jovanovic introduced Mario Breska, Joost Broerse and Marcin Zewlakow for Marios Elia, Chryssis Michael and Kosowski.

Camacho lifted the torpor with a shot wide before Jurado gave way to Maxi Rodriguez, and Breska was then booked for a foul on Luis Perea. Chiotis beat away Maxi Rodriguez's dangerous strike before Jose Antonio Reyes replaced Forlan. But the match petered out, with defender Antonio Lopez introduced in place of Simao in stoppage time as the teams settled for a share of the spoils.
 
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