Atletico Madrid are through to the Uefa Champions League quarter-finals after they defeated Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 (aggregate score 1 – 1) on penalties at the Estadio Vicente Calderon on Tuesday evening. The hosts started well but the first chance of the game went to the visitors. Karim Bellarabi found space at the top of the area but his low effort at goal flashed just wide of the posts.
The game was a real scrap in the opening exchanges with both sides giving away a few needless fouls. The first real piece of quality in the match resulted in a goal for Los Rojiblancos. Cani did well to work the ball to Mario Suarez and the Atleti midfielder made no mistake with the finish.
The goal galvanised Diego Simeone’s men and they played the rest of the half with a really enticing tempo. Leverkusen did well to make it to half-time only a goal down and the second half was shaping up to be a cracker. Despite the home crowd providing a very captivating atmosphere the two teams never really got going.
As the second half wore on the game turned into a real slug fest in midfield. Atletico had the better chances in the second period but Leverkusen defended well and the game went to extra time. Within the first few minutes of extra-time you could tell that fatigue was starting to set in for both sets of players.
The second half of extra time saw both teams come close to scoring a winner. First Raul Garcia tested Bernd Leno with a ferocious effort and then Simon Rolfes nearly caught Jan Oblak sleeping with a speculative shot from 40 yards out. In the end the game was decided on penalties with Atletico winning 3-2.