MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, March 15, 2022 (AFP) – Atletico Madrid qualified for the quarter-finals of the Champions League after beating Manchester United 1-0 in their return game at Old Trafford.
After a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Madrid, a header from Brazilian left-back Renan Lodi (41) secured Atletico a place in the next leg.
After reaching that stage for the last time in 2020, the ‘Rosiblancos’ once again break into the continent’s top eight in two seasons.
Atlético de Madrid coach Diego Simeone was pleased and praised his players: “It was a simple effort, I want to highlight the collective work, the team knew what they had to do”,
Argentine midfielder Rodrigo de Paul also praised his team’s attitude on the field and was thrilled with the classification: “We played a great game, we knew when to attack, when to press, when to suffer and we went next. are in phase and very happy”, celebrated the player.
Without being overly valid as a tiebreaker for the away goal rule, both teams entered the fray with all-or-nothing.
Buoyed by their supporters, Manchester United got off to a strong start, crushing Atlético Madrid, who were struggling to overcome local pressure.
Fifteen minutes later, English goal scorer Anthony Elanga shot in front of the goal in the first leg but Atlético goalkeeper Jan Oblak managed to save his face (14).
Rodrigo de Paul replied with a long shot that forced David de Gea to fly (15).
– Lodi Decisive – Atletico could only resort to a quick counterattack against United, where Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo was very active on the left.
Manchester dominated, but could not find accuracy in the final meter, while Atletico slowly began to relieve the pressure of the home team with an exit through the flank.
Half an hour later, a goal from Madrid’s Portuguese striker, Joo Félix, was denied offside (34), but after a while, Atlético managed to attack again with more luck.
Felix bowled a ball to Antoine Griezmann, who picked up the ball from the right to the far post, where Lodi appeared to be heading over the head and made it 1-0 (41).
The goal fell like a bucket of cold water at the ‘Teatro dos Sonhos’, where before the break Bruno Fernandes nearly equalized with a shot from a distance defended by Oblak (45+2).
The ‘Rosiblanco’ goalkeeper returned to showcase his talent at a time when his team needed him the most.
Buoyed by the result, Manchester United came back from the break ready to score a goal, leaving Atletico behind, but struggled to find a gap in the red and white wall.
– Resistance – Good organization of the visitors forced the ‘Red Devils’ to resort to the flank, from where Jadon Sancho and Elanga appeared to cross the balls into the field.
Atlético, after a sneaky attempt at high pressure, looking for an exit on the counterattack, defended the result.
Diego Simeone’s team nearly went wide when a mistake by Harry Maguire ended with a long-range shot by De Paul which was barely saved by goalkeeper De Gea (52).
United, fighting the clock, went even further with the entry of Marcus Rashford in place of Elanga (67) and Edinson Cavani in place of Fred (75), who wanted to add more firepower to their attack.
England once again nearly leveled in a header in the area that was deflected by Rafael Varane to Oblak (78).
In the final minutes, the game turned into a bombing run by United, who faced a closed Atletico and finally managed to secure their place in the next leg.
Manchester United manager Ralph Rangnick lamented the loss and recalled Atletico’s defensive prowess, saying “It’s not that easy to break that wall. I don’t think we had the physique to break the Atletico barrier.”