Atletico Madrid 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Atletico Madrid fans received all of the entertainment they might have paid for at the Metropolitano on Wednesday night – only they experienced it in the worst possible way.
Due to Porto’s victory over Club Brugge, Atleti knew going into the match that only a win would keep them alive in the Champions League. Things started badly when Antoine Griezmann was robbed in his own third and Moussa Diaby was slipped through. His finish from the right side of the box was emphatic.
Los Colchoneros recovered well though, pushing forward and putting Leverkusen under pressure. Griezmann then laid off Yannick Carrasco to strike into the near bottom corner from outside the box after 22 minutes.
The brittle nature of this Atleti came to the fore again though as this time Angel Correa was robbed and Callum Hudson-Odoi did the honours in front of goal.
Early in the second half, Rodrigo de Paul came on and curled an effort into the far corner. A brilliant strike and it set Los Rojiblancos up for a siege of the Leverkusen goal.
For twenty minutes it was. Die Werkself began to escape on the counter though and as time ticked towards the end, it looked less rather than more likely that Atleti would find a winner.
Until the 95th minute. A corner came in and was defended – full-time whistle was blown. Clement Turpin had not waited for VAR to check the play though. When they did, they found a handball.
Eventually in the 99th minute, Carrasco stepped up to give Atletico the chance to live for another day, to send the Metropolitano into raptures.
His effort was saved. The follow up hit the bar and the third time lucky was deflected over the bar in front of the line. Some players sank to the floor, others were already walking off, a few just stared. The perfect climax for their perseverance was thwarted and they will instead play in the Europa League after Christmas.