October 27, 2016

Atletico edge out PSV in penalty thriller

Atletico Madrid’s forward Fernando Torres shouts during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen second leg football match Club Atletico de Madrid vs PSV Eindhoven at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid. Photo: AFP

Juanfran’s winning penalty sent Atletico Madrid into the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday, clinching an agonising 8-7 penalty shoot-out win over PSV Eindhoven after neither side could manage a goal in 210 minutes across the two legs of the tie.

The first 14 spot-kicks of the shootout were then converted in clinical fashion before PSV’s Luciano Narsingh smashed his effort against the bar.

Juanfran then stepped up to convert the winning penalty and send Atletico into the last eight for the third consecutive year.

“It was a heart-stopping tie,” said Juanfran.

“I am very happy to see how the crowd got behind the side. We believe, our coach makes us believe and we have a lot of hunger and heart.”

It is the second consecutive season that Diego Simeone’s men have progressed to the quarter-finals on penalties after seeing off Bayer Leverkusen in similar fashion a year ago.

“It was a classic Cup tie with plenty of tension,” said Simeone.

“Neither team committed any errors and in the end penalties went our way.”

PSV were left to lament Jan Oblak’s brilliant save to tip Jurgen Locadia’s effort onto the post in the second-half of normal time as the Dutch champions came so close to causing a huge upset.

“There are mixed emotions,” said PSV coach Phillip Cocu.

“On the one hand I am very proud. We played well in the two games, but especially here. Tactically we played very well with a lot of discipline.

“We were close to the quarter-finals in the penalties, so there is also great disappointment.”

Despite being roared on by a full house at the Vicente Calderon, Atletico struggled early on as Cocu’s 5-3-2 set-up allowed PSV to dominate midfield.

However, Atletico did enjoy the best chance of the first-half when Koke’s low cross found Antoine Griezmann unmarked just six yards out, but Jeroen Zoet got down to deny the French international his 24th goal of the season.

PSV had captain and top scorer Luuk de Jong back after he missed the first-leg through suspension and the former Newcastle United striker was a constant menace to the usually unflappable Diego Godin.

De Jong was unlucky when the ball fell just behind him after Oblak cut out dangerous cross from the right.

Atletico settled into their stride at the start of the second-half, but still relied on a set-piece to carve out an opportunity as Jose Maria Gimenez rose highest at the back post only to head Koke’s corner inches wide.

As the hosts opened up, though, PSV became even more of a threat on the counter-attack.

The visitors were somehow denied the vital away goal on the hour mark when Locadia’s shot was brilliantly tipped onto the post by Oblak and De Jong’s follow-up header from point-black range was blocked on the line by Filipe Luis.

Atletico suffered a huge blow just before the end of normal time when Godin limped off to be replaced by 20-year-old Lucas Hernandez.

However, the young Frenchman had a great chance to make himself a hero early in extra time when he headed over from a corner.

Griezmann’s range was off again when he shot straight at Zoet after great work by Saul Niguez as Atletico dominated during the first period of extra time.

Yet, it was PSV who came closest after the break, but Andres Guardado curled just wide to send the game to penalties.

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