In the titanic last-16 stage clash of the Champions League, Atletico Madrid managed to register a 2-0 victory against Juventus at Wanda Metropolitano. 

Atletico Madrid’s two goals were scored by Jose Gimenez on 78th minute and Diego Godin on 83rd minute and now Los Rojiblancos are in a very strong position to qualify for the quarter-finals of Champions League, ahead of the second leg against Juventus at Turin, just three weeks from now.

The hosts looked very angry because they felt cheated by the referee after one penalty chance in the first half was canceled and one Alvaro Morata’s 70th-minute goal was axed by referee Felix Zwayer of Germany. Earlier in the first half, the Madrid side felt they should have been one goal ahead when in the 27th minute the referee pointed to the spot. But after consulting with VAR, he canceled the penalty, pointing to a free kick slightly outside the box. Antoine Griezmann, who had been delighted a moment earlier, looked very annoyed and released a hard kick that flew over the bar.

Diego Simeone’s squad lost everything to Juventus. They lost in the number of passes, losing dominance over the ball, losing the number of attacks, but finally managed to win 2-0 over La Vecchia Signora. 78 minutes from a corner, Alvaro Morata steered a powerful header into the Juventus goal. The ball was blocked by Mario Mandzukic but the wild ball was immediately struck by Jose Gimenez to make it 1-0. Five minutes later Diego Godin added the second goal. From a dead ball by Griezmann, the ball was struck by Godin heading into the net after bouncing first in Cristiano Ronaldo’s body.

Major Talking Points

A typical victory 

It was difficult on Wednesday to put an individual on top of another. There was not much to eat during the 90 minutes. Atletico was not flamboyant, far from it. But the Colchoneros won with two goals away against Juve was certainly very muscular. This performance was born from the very essence of Simeone’s men: a defensive wall with eleven players ready to fight for the jersey. In addition, the team knows how to manage the weak times, and to take advantage of its highlights, even if these were rare on Wednesday, perfect illustration tonight. The goals came from the two central defenders and each time on set pieces is not trivial. Madrid’s faithful to themselves have a foot in quarters.

Diego Costa, Far from his best

Often praised for its warrior spirit, Atletico has sometimes distinguished themselves for being too aggressive or even nervous, and the typical example was Diego Costa. The Spaniard missed everything, in addition of collecting a yellow card that will deprive him of the second leg. He missed the most beautiful opportunity of the game on a face-to-face with Szczesny while he was served wonderfully by Griezmann. In the first half, he made his malice speak to push the referee to whistle for a penalty kick, finally overturned by the VAR and converted into a free kick at the edge of the box. He did not manage to seize the rare situations to distinguish himself, and his ordeal ended when his compatriot, Alvaro Morata, replaced him in the 58th.

Tough job for Old Lady in Turin

Diego Simeone has still not lost a European match against Italian opposition since becoming Atletico coach, winning five and drawing twice. Equally ominous for Juve is that the Bianconeri have been eliminated in all five UEFA ties in which they lost the first leg 2-0 away from home. As for Ronaldo, he had seven shots against his old rivals, but only one on target – a wonderful long-range free-kick well saved by Oblak. And in three weeks’ time at the Allianz Stadium, Juventus need him to put in one of his greatest Champions League performances if they are going to pull one of Europe’s top defenses.

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