Atlético ran out eventual winners on Tuesday evening after an intense shoot-out decided one of the Champions League quarter-finalists. Atleti edged it 8-7 on penalties.
Can they carry their free-scoring form over into the Holy Grail of Euro competitions? That’s what I asked prior to Tuesday’s UCL clash, and no, they couldn’t. Not in either leg or in extra time.
However, we at AtleticoFans witnessed a killer match between a PSV side that was extremely conservative and a home side that enjoyed more possession than usual.
This game really wore on, and if your heart was with the Red and White’s, then you can attest to the frustration of witnessing your side struggle to find quality chances. Cursing Griezmann’s two botched chances in either half were acceptable reactions, too.
PSV did the work at the back end though, with their backline of five, and often looked like they had taken a page from Simeone’s book of controlling spaces on the pitch. But when push came to shove in the shootout, Atleti were the ones who got the 8-7 win after PSV’s Narsingh hit the the crossbar and Juanfran took advantage of his shortcoming:
— Carlo Valladares (@C_V_News) March 16, 2016
Read on to see how we rated the players:
Jan Oblak – 7
All in all, Oblak only had to make one save in the closely contested match. However, he settled long balls, stopped a crucial key pass in the box, and was solid in the air on set-pieces. He wasn’t great on penalties, and that’s what gets him a 7.
Juanfran – 7
Juanfran threw off his shirt in triumph after Jeroen Zoet failed to stop his shot and ran to the corner to take in the winning result. Penalties aside, he was happy for more than his goal, he was exhausted and knew that his relentless pressing down his flank wasn’t for nothing. Atletico enjoyed much of the ball, and a lot of it was down to Juanfran getting the ball back.
Jose Gimenez – 7
The young center-back did his job today, wasn’t really tested but read counter-attacks well, and kept PSV at bay when the rare scare came close to home.
Diego Godin – 8
Uruguay’s solid rock, Diego Godin, didn’t disappoint. On the offensive, he almost scored a header in the second-half and in his own zone cleared all the long balls that came his way until he came off in 89th minute.
Filipe Luis – 7
The Brazilian left-back showed his dribbling ability today, and rarely lost the ball. He wasn’t as good as his last three games in La Liga with his crosses, but didn’t display a bad performance by any means.
Gabi – 7
When Gabi managed to stop Arias on a break, he showed why in the big games, he’s still essential. Defensively, he was class and even showed up when it was his turn to finish his penalty kick.
Augusto – 6
The Argentine essentially took Luciano Vietto’s starting spot when Simeone switched him in midfield and put Carrasco up top next to Griezmann. Tactically, Augusto didn’t disappoint and pressed with a purpose. He played the deepest midfield role at times and gave PSV problems when they came knocking. Not a bad performance at all, just made some questionable decisions on the front foot.
Koke – 7
Perhaps Atletico’s best creator in midfield, the 24 year-old had two shots on net and had some decent deliveries to his two forwards. He gets a 7 here because it looked as though Saul took on his role as the game went on. Not bad, but not Koke’s best performance. We expect a lot from the Spaniard.
Saul – 9 (Man of the Match)
In La Liga, Saul has scored two in his last three, and although he didn’t score on Tuesday, he was great going forward. Off the ball, he was causing problems with his positioning and offered plenty of decent looks to Griezmann and Carrasco. Defensively, he made some key interceptions.
Carrasco – 8
Although he came off with 15 minutes left for Matias Kranevitter, he was explosive down his left side and came close on a few occasions to break the deadlock.
Griezmann – 6
Like all his teammates, the France international didn’t have a bad game. He was a threat throughout, but Zoet stopped his two quality shots and that is why he gets a 6. Oh yeah, he also looked like Zidane in midfield at one point:
— Carlo Valladares (@C_V_News) March 16, 2016
Fernando Torres – 7
Made some poor passes at times when he came in for Augusto, but was a real threat and made Zoet save three of his shots. Also had a superb shootout goal to keep Atleti alive.
Matias Kranevitter – 5
Wasn’t anything special when he replaced Carrasco, and didn’t nearly impact as much as the Belgian.
Lucas Hernandez – 6
Came on three minutes before the final whistle and didn’t make any mistakes in extra time, good night for 20 year-old.