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Champions League Review: Atleti Need Penalties To Get past PSV

Atleti-CelebratesAtletico Madrid beat PSV Eindhoven 8-7 in a penalty shootout yesterday to reach the quarter-finals of football’s 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 time and remained scoreless in extra time – when Atletico had the edge but couldn’t capitalise on scoring opportunities.

In the shootout, players from both sides scored with every penalty until Narsingh fired a powerful shot against the bar, igniting the crowed 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 shootout in Champions League came in a preliminary round in 1993-94, when Skonto of Latvia beat Olimpija Ljubljana, of Slovenia, 11-10.

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 title to Real Madrid in 2014.

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

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