Champions League: Atlético 1 – 0 Leverkusen

Atleti through to the quarter-finals after winning 3 - 2 on penalties

Oblak mobbed by his team-mates after penalty win

Oblak mobbed by his team-mates after penalty win

Atlético Madrid are through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League after beating Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 in the dreaded penalty shoot-out.

The tie was all square after 120 minutes, but it was Stefan Kießling who missed the deciding penalty to break the hearts of the travelling German fans.

Fernando Torres scored the winning penalty, and despite misses from both Koke and Raúl García, it means Atleti go through with the first European penalty shootout victory in club history.

It was the visitors who got the earlier of the opportunities, the first falling to the youngster Karim Bellarabi. The German struck with his right foot after working his way through the Atleti defence, but a deflection took it out for a corner.

The next let-off for Atlético came from an unlikely source. Mario Mandzukic, back in the starting line-up for Atlético, cleared a goal-bound effort from Son Heung-min after a dangerous Leverkusen corner.

It was the South Korean international who caused another problem for Atleti not long after, albeit incidentally. A through ball to the 22-year-old was handled by Moyá, but in the process our goalkeeper looked to have pulled his hamstring without making any contact with another player.

Moyá went down hard and it was clear instantly that Simeone needed to make a change. Jan Oblak stripped and came on for his first Champions League appearance since the 3-2 defeat to Olympiakos at the start of this year’s campaign.

Atleti started with good intensity, but it died down with the Leverkusen chances. Cani, who started the match in place of captain Gabi for his full debut, found himself with a bit of space in the Leverkusen box and drove towards goal, only to be hacked down by Spahic.

It was from this set piece that Atleti found the goal they so desperately needed.

A Koke free kick was whipped into the area, but not cleared well enough. Cani headed the ball into the path of Mario Suárez, who let rip with a shot across goal. It took a deflection from the stretching Toplak and nestled in the back of the Germans’ net. 1-0.

Cue a massive sigh of relief around the packed Vicente Calderón.

Atleti knew they needed more than just a single goal, and Mandzukic almost made it 2-0 immediately after. A through ball from the absolutely wonderful Arda Turan was inch perfect, but Mandzukic delayed on pulling the trigger, and was eventually shepherded out of danger by Wendell.

Despite the increase in Atleti pressure, Bayer looked good on the counter attack, creating a few opportunities. The visitors had one of the best chances to get the priceless away goal just before half time, when a cut-back from Son Heung-min was smothered by Oblak after a perfect Miranda tackle.

Cani was replaced at half-time by Raúl García, in order to give Atleti more of a threat up-top. Mandzukic wasn’t holding the ball up particularly well and went down quite heavily on his ankle just before half-time.

However it was the Croatian who almost set up the second goal for Atleti in the first few minutes of the second half, but couldn’t find Arda Turan in any space.

As the game went on Atleti restricted Leverkusen to more long shots, and one of the only saves Oblak had to make in the 120 minutes was after a very long distance effort from Bellarabi.

Another attempt to take the lead in the tie fell to Antoine Griezmann, who struggled to get a proper shot away. The Frenchman almost set up Arda with a goal shortly after, but the Turk decided to try and set up one of his invisible team-mates rather than go for goal.

Atleti failed to make the most of their set pieces tonight. Despite 11 corners, none of them really threatened. The danger of Koke from dead ball situations seems to have diminished since his injury, as none of his free-kicks of corners tonight really caused the Leverkusen defence any problems. Other than the one that counted, of course.

Fernando Torres replaced Mario Mandzukic as Atleti’s final substitution, and was used as the out-ball for a lot of Antoine Griezmann’s play. Unfortunately the Spaniard couldn’t create a lot, but his moment was still to come.

Extra time came and went, and despite a long range attempt from Rolfes which had Oblak scrambling, Atleti never really looked in any danger. Simeone’s men continued to play for the win rather than penalties, and Griezmann and Turan in particular were fantastic.

Penalties arrived, and it takes some nerve to go first. That honour fell to Raúl García, who skied the ball over Leno’s bar. Atleti fans feared the worst.

The tensions were eased somewhat when Calhanoglu decided to put his penalty down the middle of the goal, where a waiting Oblak was ready to bat it away.

Three penalties in a row in the same corner from Griezmann, Rolfes and Mario Suárez meant that Atleti were 3-2 up, before Toplak put his penalty way over the bar to cement Atleti’s lead.

Koke stepped up to take the fourth and ease some nerves, but his spot-kick was saved spectacularly from Leno. Castro then sent Oblak the wrong way to level things up again.

Even if you didn’t already know who was ready to take the fifth penalty, then you wouldn’t have been surprised in the slightest to see Fernando Torres walking towards the spot. El Niño dispatched the best penalty of the night for Atleti into Leno’s side-netting, giving the goalkeeper no chance whatsoever.

With the weight of the world on his shoulders, Stefan Kießling stepped up to take the final penalty for Leverkusen, but the ball is probably still on it’s way down from the atmosphere after he blazed it over the crossbar.

Although saying that, it may still beat Raúl García’s effort back to earth.

Atleti are through to the quarter-finals for the second successive season, and will find out their fate on Friday when the draw is made for the next round.

What did you make of the performance? Did you love Arda tonight as much as I did?

Make sure you check out our player ratings, from our assistant editor Billy Edwards.

Atlético Madrid Bayer Leverkusen
Atlético Madrid 10 Bayer Leverkusen
Mario Suárez  27' 
Competition UEFA Champions League
Location Vicente Calderón
Date 17 March 2015
Kick Off 20:45 CET

Team Lineups

Atlético Madrid
Moya (23')
Mario Suarez
Cani (45')
Arda Turan
Mandzukic (83')
Substitutes used
Oblak (23')
Raul Garcia (45')
F Torres (83')
Bayer Leverkusen
Heung-min (77')
Bender (104')
Drmic (69')
Substitutes used
Kießling (69')
Rolfes (77')
Papadopoulos (104')

Match Stats

On Target
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
  • That was torture .. but nothing unusual !
    Somos socios del Atleti, sufridos seguidores, seguidores

    People who don’t like Mario Suarez -and I’m one of them- prepare yourselves, he just got a new contract !
    and he deserved it, it was just one game, but one of the most important games in our history, this is only the 7th UCL 1/4 finals in our history, the first comeback in Simeone’s era, and the first win by the shoot-out in UEFA competitions after 3 defeats

    The penalty Oblak saved looked easy, but it is absolutely not, other GKs -maybe Moya- could have jumped fast and missed it

    Things worked well for Simeone tonight, but he earned that luck, if not for what he did this season then definitely for the last season
    But yet, somethings still need to be changed, starting of giving Oblak more chances, and not because Moya is injured, but also when he is fit, if you trust him against Bayer then you should trust him against Getafe, Cordoba and Granada
    And he needs to rotate more, especially that we went through tonight and things will get tougher physically, starting of Getafe’s game next week after such an exhausting game tonight

    I don’t think that it makes any difference that Bayern qualified with 7-0 while we qualified with penalty shoot-out, if we played them,
    I guess it’s a 50/50 or at least 55/45, because each game has its own circumstances, and because I believe we will be a different team after tonight .. victories change a lot

  • Luis


  • Amr Misir Mukadaffi

    This game was all about the midfield…. And Atletico won, to go fully offensive was never a option due the potential counters of Leverkussen, 1 goal and it would´ve been over…And to defend and intercept also. So they tried to dominate on the midfield, to occasionally go forward, and to help the defenders when needed.. The start of Mario suarez was very important.. He played good on the ´midfield´ and distrubed the offensive ideas of Hakan Calhanoglu and Bellarabi.. A strong and rough person on the midfield was needed.. So Mario Suarez was critical.. That combined with Arda and Koke on the midfield really wrecked Leverkussen.. They never had a chance…

    Arda motm

  • And let me praise Simeone for something many people may forget to give him credit for tonight :
    His choices for the 5 penalty takers
    Those were the best 5 he could have chosen, even the 2 who missed, and especially Mario who I’m sure almost gave many people a heart attack when they saw him stepping in, but Simeone knew better
    No defenders who usually miss, no emotional players like Arda who couldn’t watch or Jaunfran who I think I saw him crying before the shoot-out started
    Not just he picked the right 5, but also perfectly picked the first and the last one, who are the most important, I think Raul (again, even that he missed) and Torres were the best penalty takers on the pitch tonight, and the best 2 should always take the first and the last shot

    I’m from the type that does not believe that the penalty shoot-out is luck, but it’s training, psychological preparing and good choices, and I think El Cholo aced it tonight .

    Some people could say after this that I’ve changed my opinion about Simeone because we won, no, I did not, because I never hated Simeone, I just love Atleti more .. I loved it a long time before him .

  • urban

    One of the magical nights at the VC. We suffered a lot, but firstly to win in such circumstances is a mark of the champion, and secodnly this is why we are Atleti and why we love this team.

    There is a lot of joy now, but I guess both the players and the supporters are really exhausted after tonight, and there is a lot of work ahead of us. WE MUST BUILD on this game, I wanted to post here before the game that this can be our season-defining game but first I had to put my kid to sleep before the game starts 😉 Anyways I really belive that if we build on what happened tonight we can achieve top 3 finish and this combined with the quarter finals is already 100% of what we could want for this season.

    Mario showed again he can be trusted in big games and this can be a breakthrough for Oblak. I was only super annoyed with Koke’s set pieces, wtf man? He REALLY went out of practice.

    And BTW Natalia Simeone confirmed after the game that Cholos renewal will be soon made official.

  • Adnan Khan

    Good thinking from Simeone to not put arda in penalty list. If Arda had taken the penalty, who would then have made that game winning du’ah (supplication/prayer). It was beautiful and heart touching to watch Arda today.

  • Kris

    I think you should also credit Burgos for the penalty choices… The man is a silent genius…. Koke cried after the miss, that was heartbreaking especially because he took a really well shot. Leno is a beast.

  • Thank you for mentioning Mono, in fact, I give him credit for all what Simeone has achieved, I talk a lot about him on twitter, but yeah, I think we all should give him more credit here
    You are absolutely right, the man is a silent genius, and that old green file in his hand that does’t worth 1 Euro contains football secrets that worth millions
    He was offered the head coach position in some clubs, but he preferred to stay, he loves Atleti and Cholo that much

    For me, the worst thing about Koke’s miss is that Torres shot would have been the game winner, and that would have been a very great moment

  • Arda is always special .. that’s why he is arguably the favorite player for the Calderon fans
    But I think he would have missed if he took a shot, the 2 other Turks on the other side both missed
    The Turks -just like the Arabs- are always very nervous, very angry, and very overwhelmed, it’s not always a bad thing, but in some situations, it could destroy you

  • In fact, Simeone has always trusted Mario in big games, this season he started the 2 games vs Madrid & the 2 vs Barca in the cup, one of the 2 vs Juve, and one of the 2 vs Madrid in the Super Cup,
    but he was a sub -used or unused- in many other games against much lesser opponents, he only played 16 games and only started 9 of them in La Liga out of 27 so far this season
    I call it : ” The curious case of Mario Suarez ” .. and I really don’t understand it

    Saul has the same strange case too

  • AaX


  • Max Huber

    First of all I have to say that I´m really happy about the win last night! It would have been an awful result if Bayer would have won last night, because Atleti was the better team last night! I have to thank Arda, that he proved me wrong – he was just incredible! He was the most important man – no doubt! I was really happy with Gimenez, Mario, Oblak and – I just can´t believe, that I write this – with Miranda as well! The fighting spirit of the whole team was incredible – BUT – sorry, that I have to be realistic again – they really HAVE TO IMPROVE their killer instict in front of the goal!! They still have big problems to build up an attacking chance – there are lots of “half chances”, which dissappear, because someone holds the ball too long, can´t break through or struggles in front of the goal. I don´t want to pick one out, because everybody of our attacking player had their problems in that case! Simeone should work hard in that way, otherwise Atleti will have no chance against the other teams in the championsleague! Just fighting spirit will be not enough!
    In a postive way I want to pick out Torres, because I really was a bit afraid, that he will miss his penalty – but he was completely cool-headed and took the best penalty!! Thanks Fernando for this great moment!
    So all in all it was a real thriller last night, but still far away from quality-football!

  • Farzad From IRaN

    we are the best but in laliga we can not show ourselves nice

  • Farzad From IRaN

    where is siqueira??

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    That game showed the part of Atleti that had people fearing us last season. Arda and Griezmann worked their butts off and showed that they aren’t only attackers but all around ATLETICO players. Oblak…. I’ve always preferred you to be our number one this season.

    Just let me say one thing about la liga and our title hopes please; I still thinj we have a chance at the title but it would take a massive effort but as long as we use the game by game lifestyle that was emphasized last season then anything is possible because the top four are closer than they were in recent times in terms of points.

    Anyway on to the next one!

  • Chewie

    I think he has a motivation problem, just like many of other players. Fore some guys it’s easier to give your all in pressing circumstances, and much harder to find motivation to work hard in 1 of 38 games.

  • Chewie

    Don’t forget mister Ortega – 120 minutes of high intensity football without a single cramp, how about that! Some of the Bayer players indeed looked like running the last mile of the marathon whereas our guys looked much more energetic and composed.

  • Arda had to prove you wrong? You need to explain that in more detail because for the last two seasons he has been exceptional. The thing about Torres is he is at his best during the big games. I know Cholo would put him in, as any coach would on this type of stage.

  • GLORIOUS VICTORY!! Made it to the top 8 teams in Europe (some say the world) and Atleti earned every bit of that. My dig is against Chelsea, all the Atletico players that left are now seeing their mistake. Cholo picked the correct 11 and I think Moya may have just lost his starting position. Oblak was a beast and the after game comments by Torres showed his confidence in him. Last comment, the hustle was all over the pitch. Every player was working harder than any game I have seen, from them, this year. And that includes the 4 – 0 thrashing of Real Madrid. If this attitude continues from the players, we could see semi-finals in Champions and definitely top 3 in La Liga.

  • Max Huber

    I can explain – I told about the last games, where Arda wasn´t at his best and I wasn´t sure if the Nr. 10-position was the right one for him, because he wasn´t able to create lots of chances. Sometimes he held the ball too long and hampered a fast build up-play. I recognised this several times. But I have to admit these games were, where Griezmann and/or Koke were out. But last night he was at his best again and I know that he is very, very important for the team! I´m and I always was extremely impressed about his fighting and running abilities.

  • Only 2-game ban in La Liga for Miranda, it should have been 3 or 4, maybe more, but this is Spain
    They won’t dare to hand any player from Barca and Atleti more than 2-game ban this season after Cristiano got only 2 games after his kickboxing round in Cordoba

    Anyway, I will try to not say anything that could upset you, so let me put it this way :
    I don’t see it as a 2-game suspension for Miranda, but as 2 more games for Gimenez that I’m very convinced he would never have them in any other way .

    Speaking of suspensions, 6 of our players are on 2 yellow cards in UCL, one more and they will be suspended
    (The suspension in UCL is after the 3rd card then after each odd-number one, 5, 7, 9 … and the cards from group stage are not cancelled, but they are carried forward)
    Those 6 players are Gabi, Mario, Gamez, Ansaldi, Jimenez & Torres
    While for Tiago, the 2 cards he received were in the same game and he was sent off, in La Liga, they count as 1 red card and zero yellow card, but I’m not sure if this is the case in UCL, I read the regulation and didn’t find anything about that

    But if we said they are 6 players, this is too many, there is no other team in the 1/4 finals with that much players under threat of suspension :
    Juve 5, Porto 4, Monaco 3, Madrid 3, PSG 2, Bayern 1, Barca 1
    This is one of the sides we need to IMPROVE in, in capital letters just like Max wrote it
    Just take the 2 yellow cards of Torres as an example, one for pushing Son in Leverkusen, and the other for kicking the ball into the advertising hoarding last night !
    For the 100th time : DISCIPLINE is needed

    But what I can’t understand is that Raul hasn’t been booked yet in UCL this season, the same man who gets booked while warming up in La Liga !
    Maybe he is so excited about being the most capped player in Atleti history in UCL and in European competitions and he doesn’t want to miss any game so he could hold on that record as long as he can !

    Congrats for the birth of your daughter Raul, and get well from the fracture in your arm

  • Abdil Egriøz

    With all the yellow cards flying in the air it only seems obvious we need to work on that but I sometime feel the players frustration. for instance the situation with Torres kicking the ball into the advertising hoarding, It looked like a corner to me but wasn’t given and sometimes the ref seems to be too much against us. But I can definetly see your point and we have been getting many unnecessary cards with Garcia, arda throwing his boot and complaining going nowhere.

  • Fans can be frustrated as they want, players can not, especially the one who has a World Cup, 2 European cups, a Champions League and a Europa League to his name, even Simeone doesn’t have that huge experience

    I understand that Torres is having a big load of emotions of all kinds, anger, excitement, fear, hope, joy … but I don’t see all of that as an excuse, because his experiences are still much bigger

  • Mohammed Basith

    Did anyone here knows about saul’s recovery?

  • Saul finally removed the urinary catheter on Tuesday and he was back to training on Wednesday
    But we got one back and lost 2, or maybe 3
    Moya with a hamstring in the back of his thigh, Raul with a fractured ulna, and I’m not sure about Mandzukic who was in the clinic yesterday

    Here is Raul with his beautiful newborn daughter and his so cool splint

  • Mohammed Basith

    Feel so happy for the real Raul.As I’m not a biology student that Urinary catheter term gave me some fear

  • Carpetano

    Where did you find that picture?

  • on twitter

  • Carpetano

    Link please?

  • I actually don’t remember the account, I follow many Atleti fans from all over the globe, and I saw the picture 2 days ago and I downloaded it on my computer
    But if you want, here is a list I made called “Atleti” that has 92 members : coaches, players, fan clubs, journalists and some regular fans
    although there are many other great accounts that I follow but didn’t put in the list because they tweet about many different things, while those on the list tweet almost exclusively about Atleti