Champions League: PSV 0 – 0 Atlético
Atlético can't find the breakthrough against ten-men PSV
Atlético Madrid will have to improve their finishing if they want to make the quarter-finals of this season’s Champions League, after los Rojiblancos and PSV played out a goalless draw in Eindhoven on Wednesday evening.
If someone offered Atlético a 0-0 draw on Wednesday, they would have taken it, but this result is frustrating after one of Atleti’s best attacking halves of the season. Italian referee Daniel Orsato sent Gastón Pereiro off in the 68th minute with his second yellow card, but Atlético had the attacking edge both before and after that game-changing event.
Fernando Torres had two of the best chances for Atlético, mis-handling volleys and having one shot blocked as Juanfran fired in crosses from the right wing. The young Spanish national always sets up wide and Atlético took advantage of his open space on the pitch today, pounding the ball on the right side.
Antoine Griezmann also had several chances on goal, but PSV keeper Jeroen Zoet was in top form today, making four great saves and commanding his area well.
Diego Simeone chose to revert back to the 4-4-2 in this match, but with Saúl on the wing for the first time this season. The change was certainly a gamble, but it paid off as Atlético had more spring in their step than last time out against Villareal.
Saúl looked great on the wing, but Simeone chose to bring on Ángel Correa and change back to the 4-3-3 midway through the second half. The attacking onslaught continued so it is hard to argue with the manager.
Stefan Savic suffered a controversial yellow card early in the first half after a challenge just over the half-way line. The young Montonegran picked himself up and continued to pressure the PSV forwards well, winning several tackles and allowing very few chances throughout the match.
Pereiro had PSV’s best chance of the match early in the second half, getting the ball in the centre of the box, but Jan Oblak made the save. Maxime Lestienne had a chance to cash in on a volley after van Marco van Ginkel’s cross within minutes of stepping on to the pitch, but it went wide.
Corners may have been the deciding factor in this match as Atlético had 10 but could not get many shots from any of them. Gabi took the majority of the set pieces and tried a combination of short and long balls, but none of his efforts worked out.
Diego Godín had a header go in after one Gabi corner, but Orsato disallowed the goal after he was climbing all over his opponent. The veteran Uruguayan was solid in both defence and attack yet again and it is a shame he could not have a goal to show for it.
Koke looked more at home in the centre of the pitch and had several chances in the first half including a long-range screamer that just sailed over the bar. He was one of the key players in our preview before the match, but he seemed to fade a bit in the second half.
As the game drew to a close, Atleti tried to salvage an away goal from their man-advantage. They had a flurry of chances, the best being a Griezmann header, but again it was the corners and the volleys on which they could not seem to get a final touch.
With everything that happened, it was a frustrating result for Atleti, but they will have to forget it quickly and realiee they are favourites going into the second leg in the Calderón on March 15th. Next up is the long-awaited Madrid derby in the Santiago Bernabeu. Kickoff is set for 16:00 Central European Time on Saturday.
|PSV Eindhoven||0 0||Atlético Madrid|
|UEFA Champions League|
|Philips Stadion, Eindhoven|
|24 February 2016|