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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Atletico Madrid reach Champions league quarter finals by beating Inter Milan in penalty shootout

Sancho, Reus on target as Dortmund play 'best 30 minutes of the season at the beginning'

Reuters Madrid Published 15.03.24, 09:50 AM
Jan Oblak (left) and Cesar Azpilicueta celebrate following Atletico Madrid’s victory in the shootout during the Champions League Round-of-16 second leg match against Inter Milan in Madrid on Wednesday

Jan Oblak (left) and Cesar Azpilicueta celebrate following Atletico Madrid’s victory in the shootout during the Champions League Round-of-16 second leg match against Inter Milan in Madrid on Wednesday Getty Images

Atletico Madrid needed a penalty shootout to edge past Inter Milan and reach the Champions league quarter finals after a dramatic Round-of-16 clash ended 2-2 on aggregate on Wednesday.

Atletico looked to be on their way out after Inter, who won the first leg 1-0 at home, took the lead at the Metropolitano, but they hit back and found a way to take it to penalties.

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Atletico’s Jan Oblak saved from Alexis Sanchez and Davy Klaassen and Inter’s Yann Sommer kept out Saul Niguez’s effort, leaving Lautaro Martinez to keep their hopes alive.

The Argentine striker blasted his penalty over the bar to send Atletico through 3-2 in the shootout after the match finished 2-1 to the Spanish side in extra time.

“I always say that penalty shootouts are a bit about luck. Because you have to pick the right side,” Oblak told Movistar+. “You have to save the ball and I think if the player hits it perfectly, it’s impossible to save.

“Luckily today I could save them, but what is important is the victory and that we are through to the quarters.”

Inter opened the scoring in the 33rd minute through Federico Dimarco but Atletico hit back two minutes later through Antoine Griezmann and Memphis Depay’s late strike sent the tie to extra time.

Both teams had chances to win it in extra time but it was Diego Simeone’s side who held their nerve and last season’s beaten finalists exited the competition.

It was Inter, though, who opened the scoring. Nicolo Barella received the ball in the area and pulled it back to the waiting Dimarco who drove his shot straight down the middle past Oblak.

Atletico, now 2-0 down on aggregate, hit back immediately. Koke lifted a pass into the area which two Inter players missed completely and it fell to Griezmann who spun and made no mistake from close range.

“Tonight (Wednesday), once we found the lead, we should have been more careful and instead we put Atletico and their fans back in the game,” Inter manager Simone Inzaghi told Amazon Prime.

‘Hard work’ paid off

Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus were on target as Borussia Dortmund secured a nervous 2-0 win over PSV Eindhoven and a Champions League last-eight place for the first time in three years with a 3-1 aggregate victory.

Sancho, on loan from Manchester United, threaded his shot through the legs of an Eindhoven player and in off the post in the third minute, while Reus wrapped up the win with a calm finish in second-half stoppage time.

Sancho’s goal was his second in two matches after returning to Dortmund in January on loan from United after falling out of favour with coach Erik ten Hag.

“I think we really earned our quarter-final spot with hard work,” said Dortmund coach Edin Terzic. “We played perhaps the best 30 minutes of the season at the beginning.

“We should have scored more goals during that pressing phase.”

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