Atletico 1-0 Leverkusen (1-1 Agg. 3-2 Pen.): Atleti Scrape Win Through Penalties

Atletico Madrid outlasted Bayer Leverkusen on penalties after canceling out their Uefa Champions League round of 16 first leg goal deficit to reach the next round.

Mario Suarez’s deflected shot restored parity for the Spanish champions midway through the first half and despite bossing Leverkusen around for much of the proceedings, there was not to be a second goal from last season’s runners-up.

Extra-time passed without a goal and in the resultant shootout; Raul Garcia let squandered Atleti’s first kick but Jan Oblak, who came on for the injured goalkeeper Angel Moya early on, saved Hakan Calhanoglu’s effort immediately.

Atletico Madrid Players Celebrate Their Uefa Champions League Triumph Over Bayer Leverkusen at the Vicente Calderon. Image: Getty.
Atletico Madrid Players Celebrate Their Uefa Champions League Triumph Over Bayer Leverkusen at the Vicente Calderon. Image: Getty.

Omar Toprak then fired over for coach Roger Schmidit’s side to hand initiative back to the Los Roji Blancos, but Bernd Leno saved Koke’s next kick to make up for his team-mates earlier blunder.

Fernando Torres scored Atletico’s fifth kick and Stefan Kiessling missed the decisive penalty to hand the Madrid club shootout respite after finishing on the losing side on three previous occasions in Europe.

Much of the Tuesday’s job probably had been done in last month’s reverse at the Bay Arena, when the La Liga visitors managed to escape without a significant damage to their ambition. But heading into the return leg on the back of a flawless five-match winning run, Leverkusen appeared likely to have all the ingredients for a Champions League shocker.

At the Estadio Vicente Calderon, coach Diego Simeone was forced in to an early change in the opening quarter as Angel Moya limped off.

Both teams were back on equal footing on 27 minutes when the hosts found response to their first-leg deficit. Leverkusen cleared Koke’s free-kick to Cani, who squared a clever header for Suarez to smash a deflected shot beyond Leno- Game On!

Suarez almost doubled Atletico’s lead but his deflected effort- this time- went wide. And after Miranda had truncated Wendell’s ambitious low pass, the hosts continued to press for a winner.

The restart was more of the same from the first half as Antoine Griezmann’s released Arda Turan with his low cross, but the Turkish forward’s one-time shot also missed target.

Koke’s free-kick missed Leno’s left-hand post by a glimmer before the visiting goalkeeper dived to his left to keep out Turan’s low shot.

The additional 30 minutes offered little for an aggregate win, aside Oblak managing to save Simon Rolfes’ shot from a distance, while Raul Garcia’s shot and Torres’ header failed to trouble Leno.