• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

Atletico beat Inter to reach Champions League last eight

Atletico Madrid

Jan Oblak was the hero as Atletico Madrid dumped last season’s runners-up Inter Milan out of the Uefa Champions League on penalties to reach the quarterfinals.

It finished 2-2 on aggregate at the end of extra time after Inter had thrown away a two-goal advantage.

Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak was then the hero, saving penalties from Alexis Sanchez and Davy Klaassen before Inter’s Lautaro Martinez blasted his spot-kick over as the Spanish side advanced in thrilling style.

Atletico have been incredibly strong in their backyard all season and this was Diego Simeone’s 50th Champions League match in charge of the club at home – having lost only five of the previous 49.

A goal down from the first leg, a raucous atmosphere drove the La Liga side on in the opening exchanges as Samuel Lino tested Yann Sommer, but Inter possessed a threat on the counter and Oblak denied Denzel Dumfries twice in quick succession.

The draw for the quarter-finals will take place at 11:00 GMT on Friday, 15 March with Atletico’s potential opponents being Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Paris St-Germain, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, who beat PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday’s other tie.

Inter, who lost 1-0 to Manchester City in last season’s final, went first in the shootout but Oblak saved two of the first three kicks he faced. Atletico’s Saul Niguez also missed, with Yann Sommer blocking his effort.

However, Memphis Depay, Rodrigo Riquelme and Angel Correa all converted their penalties to take Atletico into the last eight and complete a memorable fightback.

Serie A leaders Inter won 1-0 in the first leg in Italy and looked to be cruising through when they doubled their overall advantage on Wednesday through Federico Dimarco’s first-time finish following Nicolo Barella’s pull-back on the left.

But Atletico pulled a goal back two minutes later, drawing level on the night.

Koke’s pass was not cleared, Benjamin Pavard sliced his clearance and Antoine Griezmann reacted quickest to give his side hope of a memorable fightback.

Substitute Depay hit the inside of the post for Atletico as they looked to get the goal they needed.

It came soon after as Depay’s low, angled shot in the 87th minute went in the bottom corner to the delight of the passionate home crowd.

Another Atletico substitute, Riquelme, had a glorious chance to win the tie but blazed over in the third minute of injury time as the match went into extra time, with neither side able to find the decisive goal before the drama of penalties.