Atletico reaches quarterfinals after outlasting PSV in penalty shootout

AP

Atletico Madrid beat PSV Eindhoven 8-7 in a penalty shootout on Tuesday to reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the third straight season.

Juanfran scored the decisive penalty for Atletico after Luciano Narsingh struck the crossbar in the previous attempt.

After an even match in which both sides had chances, the teams repeated their 0-0 draw from the first leg in regulation and remained scoreless in extra time, when Atletico had the edge but couldn’t capitalize on its scoring opportunities.

In the shootout, players from both sides scored with every penalty until Narsingh fired a powerful shot against the bar, igniting the crowd that packed the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

Juanfran then converted the final penalty and sprinted toward the corner kick flag to celebrate in front of the fans, as his teammates followed behind.

“It was a real heart-stopper,” Juanfran said. “I’m very happy to see how the crowd got behind the side. We believe, our coach makes us believe and we have a lot of hunger and heart. We believe in all that we do.”

It was the first time a Champions League knockout tie had gone to penalties without a goal in either leg. The most penalties in a Champions League shootout came in a preliminary round in 1993-94, when Skonto of Latvia beat Olimpija Ljubljana of Slovenia 11-10.

“Behind Juanfran’s winning penalty is a lot of hard work from a lot of people and it’s a great thrill for us to be in the quarters,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. “We will continue competing and we won’t underestimate what it means to get to the last eight.”

Atletico also had advanced in a shootout in last season’s round of 16, defeating Bayer Leverkusen 3-2.

“The lads are tired, but proud of what we’ve done,” said Fernando Torres, one of the penalty takers for Madrid. “The important thing is we’re in the next round. You take a penalty knowing what you’re doing, just like we did last season. We did not miss a single one and that shows character, especially from the young lads.”

The Spanish club will try to return to the semifinals for the first time since losing the final to Real Madrid in 2014. It was eliminated by its city rival in last season’s quarters. PSV was trying to reach the quarters for the first time since 2007, when it fell to Liverpool in the last eight.

“We are proud of the two performances against Atletico, especially here,” PSV manager Phillip Cocu said.

In the night’s other game, Manchester City held Dynamo Kiev to a 0-0 draw at home to reach the quarterfinals for the first time with a 3-1 win on aggregate.

Needing a win after the first leg in the Netherlands, Atletico failed to make the most of home advantage at the Vicente Calderon, where it had lost only twice in its previous 27 Champions League games.

PSV played much better than it did at home and had opportunities throughout the game. Its best chance was in the 58th minute when Jurgen Locadia struck the far post with a shot from inside the area.

Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak deflected Locadia’s strike just enough to keep the ball from going in. Striker Luuk de Jong, returning from a suspension, just missed with a header after the ball rebounded off the woodwork.

“We played even the entire match and had our chances,” PSV midfielder Andres Guardado said. “I don’t know if in the shootout it comes down to luck or ability, but in the end they are the ones who advanced.”

Atletico had plenty of possession but was unable to dominate the way it did in the first leg. Torres had a late chance but his shot from close range was saved by PSV goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet in the 86th, sending the game into extra time.

Atletico controlled the game from there and came close to finally breaking the deadlock with a powerful header by substitute Lucas Hernandez in the 94th. France striker Antoine Griezmann, who had scored in his last four Spanish league games, had a shot saved just before the end of the first extra time period.