Atleti need pens to edge past Leverkusen

Atletico Madrid made the Champions League quarter-finals after a penalty shootout win over Bayer Leverkusen.

Atletico trailed from the first leg through a Hakan Calhanoglu goal but, in front of a raucous Vicente Calderon, Mario Suarez put Los Colchoneros level but with that being the only goal of 120 minutes of football, it was to a penalty shootout the tie went.

Stefan Kiessling missed the telling kick, Atletico progressing 3-2 on the shootout with Fernando Torres on target immediately before his Leverkusen counterpart.

Diego Simeone made five changes to the Atletico team from the first leg, dropping captain Gabi to the bench among them, while Roger Schmidt fielded 10 of the XI from the teams’ first encounter.

The opening stages were played out at a furious pace, from both teams, Leverkusen harrying and harassing in a manner of which Atletico of last season would have been proud. The Calderon, a cauldron, was quiet for barely a moment despite there being precious little goalmouth action.

If anything, it was Leverkusen who looked most like scoring and in preventing one of those openings, Miguel Angel Moya appeared to injure his hamstring, Jan Oblak coming on after only 20 minutes.

It was Bernd Leno picking the ball out of the net shortly after Oblak entered the match, Mario’s shot from the edge of the area – Atletico’s first real attempt on goal – going in via an Omar Toprak deflection.

Mario Mandzukic had a golden opportunity to put Atletico in front on aggregate when he was slipped behind the defence by Arda Turan but took too long to get a shot away and Wendell was able to come across from left-back to make the block.

Leverkusen remained lively on the break but the chances were falling to Atletico, a second deflected Mario shot causing concern for Leno as it dipped past the post.

The visitors enjoyed a spell of possession as the interval approached but Atleti, with a half-time change of Raul Garcia on for Cani, started the second half on the front foot, although Jose Gimenez almost lost out to Calhanoglu as Leverkusen kept Atletico on their toes.

Atletico though struggled to create chances, relying on balls into the penalty area that Leno and his defence coped against. Some neat work from Griezmann produced a cross fired into Arda but the Turk’s volley was high and wide before Garcia almost got a toe on Koke’s dangerous free-kick.

Griezmann, shortly after having a chance blocked by Simon Rolfes, laid off for Arda but Leno was equal to his drilled effort, Leverkusen sub Stefan Kiessling blasted over the bar and Fernando Torres was brought on as Simeone sought a winner, but one couldn’t be found in the 90 minutes.

Leverkusen had the first chance of extra time, a scuffed Kiessling effort easily fielded by Oblak, then drew blood after a Rolfes elbow caught Garcia under the eye.

Neither side was able to edge in front after the first 15 minutes of extra time and Leno kept parity with a strong stop almost immediately after the restart, batting away Garcia’s powerful effort.

Oblak was next to come under fire, Rolfes’ long-range attempt causing panic, but the shot, from a good 40 yards, swerved wide of the post.

Torres put a near post header into Leno’s arms as penalties loomed on the horizon and, with no further goals, the match was decided from 12 yards.

After some excellent penalties, a super Leno save and some real shockers, the pressure getting to the likes of Garcia and Calhanoglu, Kiessling’s miss put Atleti in the quarter-finals.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen (Atletico 1-1 Leverkusen on aggregate, Atletico win 3-2 on penalties)

Mario 27

Atletico Madrid: Moya (Oblak 23); Juanfran, Gimenez, Miranda, Gamez; Cani (Raul Garcia 46), Mario, Koke, Arda; Manduzkic (Torres 83), Griezmann

Bayer Leverkusen: Leno; Hilbert, Toprak, Spahic, Wendell; Castro, Bender (Papadopolous 104), Calhanoglu, Bellarabi; Son Heung-Min (Rolfes 77), Drmic (Kiessling 68)

Referee: Rizzoli [ITA]

Tags Bayer Leverkusen