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regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

Dortmund dig deep against Atletico Madrid to advance into Champions League semi-finals

After losing the first leg of their quarter final 2-1 in Madrid, Dortmund had to come from behind twice over two legs to advance 5-4 on aggregate

Our Bureau And Agencies Dortmund Published 18.04.24, 11:08 AM
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Marcel Sabitzer scored late and set up two goals to send Borussia Dortmund into the Champions League semi-finals with a helter-skelter 4-2 win over Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

After losing the first leg of their quarter-final 2-1 in Madrid, Dortmund had to come from behind twice over two legs to advance 5-4 on aggregate.

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Julian Brandt opened the scoring to level the tie before Sabitzer set up Ian Maatsen to give Dortmund a 2-0 lead on the night.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone responded with three changes at the break and they all paid off. A Mats Hummels own goal and goal from substitute Joaquin Correa put the Spanish side back in front on aggregate.

Then Sabitzer set up Niclas Fullkrug in the 71st minute for the Germany forward's first goal after nine scoreless games, and Sabitzer scored himself three minutes later to send Dortmund into the last four.

“That was a roller coaster, a really great evening,” Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said. “It's not always like that for Borussia Dortmund. The last time we were in the semi-finals was in 2013. This is a great day for all Borussen.”

Dortmund will face Paris St-Germain again in the semi-finals. PSG progressed to the final four with a 4-1 win at Barcelona. The teams played already this season with Dortmund losing 2-0 in Paris in their opening group match, then drawing 1-1 in their final game as Dortmund topped Group F.

The final will be played June 1 in London, where Dortmund lost the 2013 final 2-1 to bitter rival Bayern Munich.

The win stretched Dortmund's unbeaten run at home in the Champions League to 10 games.

"We were close to tying the game, but they were superior, and when a team is superior they should be congratulated,” said Simeone, who blamed his team's elimination on wasted opportunities from the first leg when Atletico dominated but failed to build a bigger advantage.

Atletico needed goalkeeper Jan Oblak at his best. He denied Brandt, then Karim Adeyemi, before Brandt finally made the breakthrough in the 34th, firing a powerful shot in off Oblak's leg from a difficult angle after eluding former teammate Axel Witsel.

Sabitzer then combined with Maatsen, who surged past two defenders and fired the ball inside the far post in the 39th. It was the Dutch defender's first Champions League goal.

But Atletico only needed four minutes after the break to level the tie when Hummels' attempted clearance ended in his own net.

Correa should have scored shortly afterward when he nudged the ball wide. Simeone — dressed sharply in a black suit — flopped to the ground in frustration.

Correa made no mistake in the 64th when he fired in a rebound.

AP/PTI

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