Jan Oblak saves two penalties as Atletico Madrid beat Inter in Champions League

By Sports Desk March 13, 2024

Jan Oblak saved two penalties in a shoot-out as Atletico Madrid booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 3-2 win on penalties after they drew 2-2 with Inter Milan on aggregate.

Marko Arnautovic’s first-leg goal gave last year’s finalists a lead heading into the second leg at Civitas Metropolitano and they opened the scoring to double their aggregate lead just after the half-hour mark through Federico Dimarco.

Antoine Griezmann struck a couple of minutes later to bring the deficit back to one at the break but it was all Atletico following the interval.

Substitute Memphis Depay came to Atletico’s rescue with three minutes to spare, making it 2-1 on the night and level on aggregate just moments after hitting the post.

Neither side managed to find in a winner in extra time and Oblak saved penalties from Alexis Sanchez and Davy Klaasen before Lautaro Martinez blasted over to send Inter out.

Inter were in no mood to rest on their laurels as Hakan Calhanoglu set Denzel Dumfries before the Netherlands international worked his way inside the box and was twice denied by Oblak.

At the other end Mario Hermoso’s cross found Morata but he could only head at Yann Sommer.

Inter opened the scoring on the night in the 33rd minute when Nicolo Barella worked his way down the wing and cut back to Dimarco, who lashed home from inside the box.

Atletico were not behind for long and were on level terms a couple of minutes later as Koke lifted the ball back into the box, where it bounced into the path of Griezmann, who picked out the bottom corner.

Atletico’s tails were up following the equaliser and they could have gone into the half-time break level on aggregate when Griezmann unleashed on goal only for Benjamin Pavard to block and clear to safety.

Inter could have put the tie to bed with 15 minutes to go as a swift counter attack ended at the feet of Marcus Thuram, who ran through on goal but shot over the crossbar.

Atletico were still looking for the important goal that would bring them level and Angel Correa’s low cross found Depay, who turned but could not get enough contact to trouble Sommer.

Time was running out for the hosts who continued to probe and the woodwork saved Inter on this occasion when the ball popped out to Depay from 20 yards who rifled past a bystanding Sommer but onto the post.

A minute later, Atletico had their deserved aggregate equaliser as Koke’s defence-splitting pass found Depay, and this time he made no mistake to put them 2-1 up on the night.

Atletico had a chance to snatch it at the death as Griezmann picked out the onrushing Rodrigo Riquelme who blazed over the bar to send the match into extra time and subsequently the second penalty shoot-out of the round.

Inter were first to blink in the shoot-out when Sanchez saw his penalty saved by Oblak but opposite number Sommer repeated the feat to keep out Saul Niguez and, after Klaasen saw his penalty saved, Martinez blasted over to seal Inter’s fate.

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