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Atletico Madrid Advances to Champions League Quarter-Finals in Dramatic Penalty Shootout Victory over Inter Milan

Madrid, March 13, 2024, The Europe Today: Atletico Madrid emerged victorious in a tense penalty shootout against Inter Milan, securing their spot in the Champions League quarter-finals after a thrilling last-16 clash ended 2-2 on aggregate on Wednesday.

Atletico Madrid found themselves facing elimination after Inter, who had clinched a 1-0 victory in the first leg at home, initially took the lead at the Metropolitano. However, Atletico displayed resilience and determination, staging a comeback to force the match into penalties.

Jan Oblak, Atletico’s stalwart goalkeeper, showcased his brilliance by saving penalties from Alexis Sanchez and Davy Klaassen, while Inter’s Yann Sommer denied Saul Niguez. The tension soared as Lautaro Martinez stepped up to keep Inter’s hopes alive but saw his decisive penalty sail over the bar, sealing Atletico’s 3-2 triumph in the shootout after the match concluded 2-1 in favor of the Spanish side in extra time.

Reflecting on his crucial saves, Oblak emphasized the role of luck in penalty shootouts, stating, “I always say that penalty shootouts, in the end they are a bit about luck. Because you have to pick the right side. You have to save the ball, and I think if the player hits it perfectly, it’s impossible to save.”

The match began with Inter opening the scoring through Federico Dimarco in the 33rd minute, only for Atletico to swiftly respond as Antoine Griezmann found the net just two minutes later. Memphis Depay’s late strike in regulation time sent the match into extra time, where Atletico ultimately held their nerve and secured victory.

Inter manager Simone Inzaghi acknowledged his team’s missed opportunities, lamenting their failure to capitalize on their lead and praising Atletico’s resilience. Diego Simeone, Atletico’s emotional coach, was brought to tears after defeating his former club and ex-teammate Inzaghi, marking a poignant moment of triumph.

The victory catapults Atletico Madrid into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, where they aim to continue their quest for European glory, fueled by the passion and determination that defines their storied legacy in football.