Champions League: Atlético 0 – 0 PSV (8 – 7 penalties)

Rojiblancos squeeze through on penalties against brave PSV

Déjà vu for Atleti in penalty shootout win

Déjà vu for Atleti in penalty shootout win

Atlético Madrid’s long-suffering, loyal supporters were put through another evening of torture by their beloved team on Tuesday night, but came through in the most nerve-wracking of circumstances against PSV Eindhoven.

The rojiblancos beat the Dutch side in sudden death of a penalty shoot-out, with Juanfran emerging as the hero with the winning kick in a pulsating 8-7 win.

Nothing could separate the two teams after 210 intense minutes over two legs, but despite putting up a brave fight and defending valiantly, Phillip Cocu’s side go home empty-handed as substitute Luciano Narsingh missed the only penalty of the night.

After a 0-0 stalemate in Eindhoven three weeks ago, Atleti weren’t expected to have too much trouble on the return at the Calderón and line-up with an attacking formation.

Simeone made one change from the team that beat Deportivo on Saturday, replacing Luciano Vietto with Augusto Fernández in midfield as Yannick Carrasco partnered Antoine Griezmann in attack.

PSV dropped deep as many had anticipated, but it seemed for a while that it was only a matter of time until the hosts made the breakthrough, especially with a raucous Vicente Calderón in their corner.

Griezmann it was who had the game’s first opportunity, but after great work from Juanfran and Koke, he shot at the body of goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet when he really should have scored.

However, Zoet was a man on a mission, and kept Atleti out at all costs on the night with a string of fine saves. Later in the half, he saved another header from Griezmann at point blanc range, although the offside flag would’ve denied him anyway.

Carrasco also sent a long range pile-driver just inches over his crossbar, as the visitors beginning to grow in confidence the longer the game stayed goalless.

On the break they looked dangerous and in defence they were spectacular, Jeffrey Bruma in particular shining as the leader of the young back five.

Cholo changed things up after the break and sent on a striker in Fernando Torres, but it was PSV who came closest to finding the opener, and what would’ve been a crucial away goal.

As the colchoneros sent more and more men forward, gaps were appearing in defence and Jürgen Locadia almost exploited that, only to find that Atleti also had an inspired goalkeeper in Jan Oblak.

Locadia’s shot was superbly palmed onto the post by the Slovenian, but somehow from the rebound, free-scoring Luuk de Jong was unable to convert into an empty net and Filipe managed to clear.

Up at the other end, the Dutch side dealt with just about everything that was being thrown at them, with Zoet saving from Torres at his near post and Griezmann towards the end yet again.

Surprisingly, Simeone brought off perhaps his brightest attacking player in Carrasco as time ran out, and also had to withdraw Diego Godín in the dying moments as injury got the better of him.

20 year-old Lucas Hernández took his place, and as extra time arrived it was the young Frenchman who had the clearest opening, heading over the crossbar from a corner when it looked easier to score.

In the additional thirty minutes, tiredness began to play a part and the fear factor took over, with neither side wanting to lose it or commit too many men forward and risk being exposed at the back.

Given that Atleti hadn’t conceded in over 6 hours at home and PSV likewise on their travels, penalties looked the most likely option and just like at this stage last year, that was how the tie was to be decided.

Bayer Leverkusen lost 3-2 on spot-kicks on that occasion, but this was to turn into something even more gut-wrenching for fans of both teams.

Despite looking so secure in normal time, the goalkeepers were having no luck in the shootout as both teams took with confidence, despite a few only just creeping in.

The visitors took first, meaning Atleti were left to play catch-up, but each time we were able to hold our nerve and eventually take advantage of their one miss.

After five successful takes from either side, it went to sudden death. The noise in the Calderón continued, and rose to perhaps it’s highest point all evening as the unfortunate Luciano Narshingh hit the crossbar with the 15th penalty of the night.

Narsingh had only come on three minutes from the end to take a penalty, but hit the crossbar, leaving Juanfran with an opportunity to become a hero and send the red and whites into the quarter-finals.

Just like Griezmann, Gabi, Koke, Saúl, Torres, Giménez and Filipe before him, he scored and lifted the roof off of the stadium, with a wave of pure delight and delirium taking over as the victory was confirmed.

It had been a gruelling, exhausting night for both teams, who fought tooth and nail to the end, and in that moment you could see just what it meant to everyone involved at Atleti to get that crucial win.

Having worked so hard, we finally got the break we needed and perhaps that mental spur now to push on and really make a mark in the competition.

It may have been heartbreak for the travelling PSV fans, but they gave Cholo’s men two of the toughest games they have had all season and can go home with their heads held high.

Now, Atleti will await Friday’s quarter-final draw with enthusiasm, as we prepare to do it all over again against another of Europe’s elite next month.

Simeone will insist that nothing is more important than the next game though, which is away at Sporting Gijón on Saturday. Partido a partido, that’s the path to success. Forza Atleti.

Atlético Madrid PSV Eindhoven
Atlético Madrid 0 0 PSV Eindhoven
Competition UEFA Champions League
Location Vicente Calderón
Date 15 March 2016
Kick Off 20:45 CET

Team Lineups

Atlético Madrid
Godín (89')
Augusto (56')
Carrasco (75')
Substitutes used
Torres (56')
Kranevitter (75')
Lucas (89')
PSV Eindhoven
Willems (75')
Van Ginkel
Locadia (87')
De Jong (118')
Substitutes used
Brenet (75')
Lestienne (87')
Narsingh (118')

Match Stats

On Target
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
  • AaX

    I really don’t understand it when Simeone took out Carrasco and then Godin! I was like shaking my head in disbelief sometimes with these decisions but was Greatly ecstatic with a Huge sigh of RELIEF at the End. Enough please with the penalties Simeone. I did say we’d go through in a definitive fashion but wasn’t expecting it to be as ‘definitive’ as this. And

    BRAVO Juanfran, the Team and the Fans Tonight ! They’ve Define Our Never Say Die Attitude !!

    FORZA Atleti !!

  • Kris

    WTF? Couldn’t score against PSV in 210 minutes??? TWO HUNDRED TEN.
    Holy shit, that’s some serious problems. Glad we got through, but I don’t understand this. WTF?

  • Epoy

    I have a feeling that this experience winning a down the wire penalty shootout will benefit the time in future ties this CL…

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Thank you, everybody is celebrating like we have won the title and no one wants to talk about our serious problems .
    And when I said before the game that they didn’t go and that the 9 goals against Sociedad, Valencia & Depor don’t mean that we have solved them I was called a pessimist and a perfectionist !

    I do understand this, we started the game with 4 central midfielders, a winger and a second striker, of course we will never going to score with this fucked up line-up .
    I have been watching football since 1990 and I have never seen such line-up in my life, except this same line-up against Barca .
    As I said before : for Simeone, it’s not about the game plane, but about the 11 players he trusts the most, that’s why our only playmaker was watching from the stands tonight .

    Anyway, I believe we will finish 2nd in La Liga and we have reached UCL 1/4 finals, those are more than my objectives for the team this season, so I’m done with criticizing Simeone, because I’m fucking tired .
    Let’s hope things will change next season .

  • Kris

    Are you serious? We should’ve never had to go to this. I just don’t understand this complacency in Atleti fans on this website. Everybody thinks it’s a good thing we win games 1-0. No it’s not. It also means we could lose games 1-0. With the team we have and the money we have spent to acquire the players we have, such occurrence should be rare. I thought I had been seeing little improvements with the team, but then Simeone again decides to play with 4 central midfielders. Our main objective of the game was to score goals, and we just didn’t do that today. Some were saying we would “crush” PSV easy. But that really wasn’t the case. Maybe we should’ve crushed PSV, maybe we would’ve, had there been a few more attackers on the team.

    Sigh… Never mind.

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    After playing three games with 3 attackers and three midfielders and scoring 3 goals in each, Simeone with all his wisdom decides to put out a side with two attackers for a second leg at home in the champion’s league. FUCKING BRILLIANT! (please hear my sarcasm)

    I’ve been fed up with this nonsense but when he subbed Carrasco for Kranevitter i blew my top. We were finally attacking and he decided to cool the game right down, I was absolutely dumbfounded. I was ashamed today, Psv were not nearly good enough to take us to penalties and I for one; tho relieved, am very upset with what i saw

  • Koke

    Luck. Luck is what brought Atleti through to win this tie. And luck is what got us a lot of our 1-0 victories in the league when we would wait till the last 10 minutes to score against minnows that shouldn’t cause us any problems on paper. I am really happy that we’re second in the league and that we’re through to the final 8, but at the same time I know luck, unlike skill and tactics, is out of our control and won’t last forever. It could be any day that luck doesn’t work for us or even works against us, and what will we do then? Not to be a pessimist, but I just think we should aspire for more, and have the attitude of the MASSIVE club that we are. Atleti has the best defense in the entire world, I don’t doubt that for a second, and with the money and players we have there’s no reason we shouldn’t attempt to have one of the most menacing attacks in the world too, but we just don’t. A change of tactics is necessary. Nowadays when I see Saul-Augusto-Gabi-Koke lineups I don’t even get frustrated anymore because I already expected it. We need players that complement each other, not players that are redundant.

    Not to be a negative nancy – I’m REALLY happy for the win! It’s just that this is probably our most likely trophy to win left this season (weird, right?) and we won’t win it with tactics that have us unable to score against PSV for 210 minutes of play.

  • AaX

    Me too. What was shown is their Attitude and Nerve of ADAMANTium Steel.

  • AaX

    But by our True Standard, it should Never have come to This in the first place and I mean No More! unless meritably so.

    AUPA Atleti !

  • Epoy

    I got your point dude that we should be hurdling PSV comfortably but better suffer now and go through against a weaker PSV so we will still have time to adjust and fix our offensive problems for stronger opponents. Somehow, this experience will benefit us in future ties especially if go through another penalty shootout.

    Right now, there is no sense of crying over spilled milk especially when the objective was accomplished anyway. Let’s look at the positive thing that the team can learn from this experience and improve further the team’s mental toughness.

  • Pegatinas y gradas

    Never stop believing.

    El escudo del Atleti grabado en el corazón

  • Karlp

    Please, sooner or later Atleti have to start playing Oliver & Correa.
    Currently the source of creativity is only from Griezmann and sometimes Carrasco.
    And Griezmann really burns out from the 2nd half.

  • Patrick English

    Even if he is defensive, Augusto is a good change from Vietto because he adds something to the team while Vietto does almost nothing. I assume you were talking about Torres, who probably wasnt fit enough to play a full 90 minutes so we didnt really have a striker option besides Correa who probably shouldve played ahead of Augusto. But I can understand why Simeone went for experience. Even still, Atletico outshot PSG 26-10 in this game, and 7-2 on goal, so they definitely had an attacking advantage, but youre right there were few clear chances or venomous shots. This is mostly a product of a nervous team that seemed to take one too many touches in and around the box throughout the game. Theyre young and that should improve in coming years. As you said, weve exceeded expectations but because of that they should rise. With a fit Torres, more confidence, and a little bit of luck, I still think this team can get to the semis and maybe even the final this year.

  • Patrick English

    Fatigue. Carassco and Godin were exhausted and therefore werent doing much on the field. While kranevitter and lucas hernandez arent usually upgrades from those two, they mightve been at the time.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Yeah, I’m also done arguing with “the Cholistas more than El Cholo himself”, so you can say that Vietto adds nothing, and Carlo can give Saul 9 out of 10 in players ratings and pick him as man of the match, I really don’t have any more energy or any more words .

    By the way, and I know it’s a typo, but we were playing PSV not PSG .
    Although I would have preferred to play PSG, because it’s the small teams against which we suffer the most (with all due respect to PSV who have a CL title, but right now they are too much smaller than us) .
    After so much suffering against Bayer & PSV, I honestly don’t want to get Benfica or Wolfsburg in the quarters, let’s get Real or Barca or PSG, they suit “our style”, and there will not be so much frustration for some fans like me, and there will not be division between us, and if we were knocked out by a big team it will not be a shame or an embarrassment .

  • AndersAT

    I don’t think nobody wants to talk about it, it is just the same critics all the time, and personaly i just don’t agree with you, and don’t see the point in talking about it over and over again.

    1) Can’t we be happy we proceded to the best 8 in the CL? PSV is a good team. We didn’t play our best but that is what happens in football.

    2) we can all agree that we would like to score more goals, but you can’t just replace “defensive” players with “offensive” end expect to win, otherwise Simeone would have done it.

    3) we fielded 4 midfielders of whom Koke and Gabi are very creative and Saul is a great offensive threat. I don’t see the problem. I personally think Vietto would have been a better choice than Augusto, but what do i know about picking a team. And as you mention, we played this team against Barca in a match where we outplayed them for much of the game, and had it not been for two stupid red cards we could easily have gotten a draw or won the match.

    4) You keep talking about Oliver as a playmaker. Can you mention any other team than perhaps Barca (when they had Xavi) who uses a real playmaker (“10”) these days (and succeceds wit it)? In modern football you can’t have these luxury players in the centre of the field, you place them on the flanks, from where they can roam into the pitch in i free role. Just look at what has happened to Isco and James at Real Madrid, these a great playmakers but there are not room for these kinds of players in modern football. And do you seriously think that Oliver has been more decisive than Koke, Saul or Carrasco? I for one don’t. I think Oliver is good but he is just not better that any of our starters (but he could be in time).

    5) i hope things does’nt change that much, we just need Vietto to start hitting the target. Small adjustments will get us to the top.

  • AndersAT

    Why do you think we have the best defense in the world? It is because the midfield (and forwards) are so effective in defending. You can’t have it all…

  • Patrick English

    Sorry for the typo. Yes I have a great deal of respect for Cholo because he took a midtable team to a championship and what will likely be four straight top 3 finishes and three straight champions league quarterfinal appearances.

    That said, I do disagree with the decision to start 5 midfielders. I would’ve started Correa (or Torres if he was fit for a full 90 which I doubt he was) over Augusto but I wanted to make sure you understand why Cholo did that. Vietto has one goal in 15 appearances (albeit some of those as a late sub); how is that production from a striker? I agree Carlo’s ratings were lenient. I don’t think any of the midfielders or strikers deserve above a 6 and my man of the match would be Godin or Gimenez because they baled Atleti out numerous times and kept a clean sheet against a strong attacking team.

    I agree there are a lot of things this team (including their manager) needs to work on, but a few of them such as health and experience should fix themselves. Cholo gained experience by making the mistake of trying to play a 4-5-1 and changed when he subbed in Torres. Gimenez, Saúl, Carassco, and others gained the experience of playing their first full 90 in a CL knockout stage game. Atleti also step up in big games so I would not be too surprised if they make another deep run. The team can always improve, but they are still 3rd favorites in my book after Barca and Bayern. City, Real, PSG, Benfica and Wolfsburg all have flaws like Atletico and do a worse job of keeping them hidden. If Atletico play their absolute best game and get some luck they have the potential to beat Barca and Bayern. Of course you can always ask for more, but I’m pretty happy to see that from this team.

  • Koke

    You’re very right in the fact that our midfield and attackers play a big role in our defensive play, but I still think we could play a slightly more offensive game without compromising any defensive excellence. Even forgetting our midfield and attack, Oblak-Juanfran-Gimenez-Godin-Filipe is in my opinion the best back 5 in the world, the only one that comes close is Bayern’s. Add to that a minimum of two defensive midfielders and four ATTACK-minded players that track back and I don’t see why we can’t have both a stellar offense and a stellar defense. In those moments when we have about 9 or 10 men behind the ball, does it really matter if one of those men is Oliver instead of Augusto, or Carrasco instead of Kranevitter? I think not, it will still be hard to score against us because we are playing as a team and are disciplined.

    Plus, and this may sound ironic, but I think that by playing more offensively we can be better at defending too. Barcelona’s defense is actually pretty average to be honest, but you’d never know it because their defense never gets tested much because the opponents are always terrified of Barca’s attack and so they don’t commit too many men forward ever. When we have 10 or 11 players behind the ball, the opponents, whether they are Barcelona or PSV or Getafe, know that there is no threat at all that we will counterattack so they commit their men forward and pin us inside our own half. That’s why you always see our players clear the ball down the field to nobody on our team, because we’re all in our own half, and the opponents collect the ball again and just start over their attack. If we could allow maybe Griezmann and one other forward to stay up even when we are defending, then the opponents will always be thinking “shit, we can’t attack too hard, because once we lose the ball we have 2 or more fast and skillful players breaking into a dangerous counterattack.” Borussia Dortmund and (though I hate to admit it) Mourinho’s Real Madrid are good examples of what great counter attacks should look like. I think we have the players to do something similar but our tactics never really allow us to.