Atletico edge past PSV to reach last eight

Atletico Madrid's JuanFran Torres celebrates after scoring the winning goal during a penalty shootout after extra time in their match.
Atletico Madrid's JuanFran Torres celebrates after scoring the winning goal during a penalty shootout after extra time in their match.PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID • Juanfran's winning penalty sent Atletico Madrid into the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday, clinching an agonising 8-7 penalty shoot-out win over PSV Eindhoven after neither side could manage a goal in 210 minutes over the two legs of the tie.

The first 14 spot-kicks of the shoot-out were converted in clinical fashion before PSV's Luciano Narsingh smashed his effort against the bar.

Juanfran then stepped up to convert the winning penalty and send Atletico into the last eight for the third consecutive year.

"It was a heart-stopping tie," said the Atletico full-back.

"I am 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."

It is the second consecutive season that Diego Simeone's men have progressed to the quarter-finals on penalties after seeing off Bayer Leverkusen in similar fashion a year ago.

The Argentinian hailed his side's belief, saying: "It was an enormous celebration for the whole stadium. The spectacle you see in the stands was tremendous. We won't ever stop believing, that is for sure."

Despite Atletico's spectacular efficiency from the spot, Simeone insisted they had not practised penalties beforehand.

He said the credit should go to his assistant German Burgos for deciding which players should take the responsibility.

"We don't practise penalties. It isn't the same to do it with all the fans behind the goal, the tension of the game and 120 minutes in the legs," he added. "It is an act that shows personality, authority and decisiveness.

"German did it against Leverkusen and he did it again today. All the congratulations should be for him because it isn't easy to choose."

PSV coach Phillip Cocu admitted he was left with a bittersweet taste having seen his young side match one of Europe's heavyweights over the two legs and come so close to a place in the quarter-finals for the first time in nine years.

"There are mixed emotions," he said. "On the one hand I am very proud. We played well in the two games, but especially here. Tactically we played very well with a lot of discipline. We were close to the quarter-finals in the penalties, so there is also great disappointment.

"If we had scored, the chances of going through were huge. They would have needed to score two and we defended well. We needed a little bit of luck. With the few chances we had you have to be clinical."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2016, with the headline 'Atletico edge past PSV to reach last eight'. Print Edition | Subscribe