Atletico Madrid have reached the quarter finals of UEFA Champions League for the second successive season after beating Bayer Leverkusen on penalties following a 1-1 aggregate draw. Substitute goal keeper Jan Oblak was the hero for Rojiblancos in the shootout but he refused to take credit for the same.
Going into this fixture, Atletico Madrid had scored only one goal in 421 minutes of play and Bayer Leverkusen were termed as the early favorites to progress into the quarter-finals. But Diego Simeonea s men once again rose to the occasion and put on a spirited display in this do or die encounter.
Midfielder Mario Suarez scored in the first half to level the scores for Atletico Madrid. But the scoreless second half was followed by unproductive extra time of 30 minutes but keeper Jan Oblak saved the day for Atletco Madrid in the penalty shootout. And the keeper, who came in as a substitute for injured Moya in the first half, said that every player of Atletico Madrid is a hero.
“I’m not the main man, we are all heroes. We deserved to qualify,” said Oblak after the match.
“It was bad luck for Moya. I hope he recovers quickly. When I saw the atmosphere on entering the pitch I was already warmed-up. It was not difficult to play. I’m happy.”
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone was also happy with the result and praised his keeper Oblak after the match.
“I’m happy with the team’s effort. We had many players out: [Diego] Godin, Tiago, Saul,a said Simeone.
a The team made an enormous effort in a typical cup match against a rival that played with more intensity than most teams. After the goal we sought a second to keep us in the competition, but we knew how difficult it would be if we let one in.”
“Moya’s injury deprived us of a change in a very long match. Let’s hope he recovers quickly.”
Diego Simeone also praised Atletico Madrid fans for their noisy support to the team in the entire game.
“I loved the fans tonight. I’m here among the eight best teams in Europe again with Atletico and that gives me goosebumps. The fans can’t imagine the strength they transmit to the players.
“We can’t choose our rival [in the draw]. All of the teams are great sides. We have to be humble, wait and see who we get.”