For the first time in this Champions League round, 90 minutes were not enough to decide a winner between Atlético Madrid and PSV Eindhoven. The match stayed scoreless all the way through regulation and extra time -- making this tie the first knockout tie in Champions League history to go scoreless -- and it took eight rounds of penalties for Atlético to emerge triumphant
The match itself was a very tactical affair, with both PSV and Atlético doing everything they could to out-wit one another. PSV were more aggressive in all phases of the game than many seemed to expect -- especially after seeing a fairly defensive lineup for the Dutch team -- and it seemed to catch their Spanish hosts somewhat off guard.
Atléti struggled at times to get their attack in sync thanks to the determined and highly adaptable defense that PSV put up in front of them. The Dutch side quickly closed down any attacking threat, but also did an excellent job of covering for each other when they did, with midfielders and wingbacks always moving to make sure no holes opened up for Atlético to exploit. That left Diego Simeone's side struggling to create quality chances -- they had shots aplenty, but mostly from poor angles or with little room to work with. What few shots they managed to get on target for much of the match were generally tame enough that Jeroen Zoet had little problem dealing with them in goal.
PSV, meanwhile, were patient in their chances getting forward, waiting to launch counter attacks for when they saw the right opportunities to wreak havoc. They too struggled to get shots on target, but there was a sense of greater chaos in Atlético's defense every time the visitors went forward, as opposed to PSV's cooler and calmer approach to their defending.
The two teams wore each other into a standstill for all 90 minutes of regulation, heading into extra time with both the match and the aggregate scoreline for the tie at 0-0. Both teams were fatigued after the energy they'd expended in the first 90 minutes of play, slowing the pace of the game somewhat, but you could see the desperate edge in both teams as they fought for that one goal they needed to advance.
That one goal wouldn't come, however, and the game finally ticked away all the way through extra time and we were treated to the drama of a penalty shootout. The first seven tries for both teams all went in before Luciano Narsingh clanked a PSV penalty off the bar, and Diego Godín made no mistakes in burying the winner to send Atlético Madrid to the quarterfinals after one of the most stressful matches they've ever played.
Atlético Madrid: Jan Oblak; Juanfran, Juan Giménez, Diego Godín (Lucas Hernandez 89'), Filipe Luís; Gabi, Augusto Fernández (Fernando Torres 55'); Koke, Saúl Niguez, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco (Matias Kranevitter 76'), Antoine Griezmann
PSV Eindhoven: Jeroen Zoet; Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Hector Moreno, Jeffrey Bruma, Santiago Arias, Davy Pröpper, Andres Guardado, Marco van Ginkel, Jetro Willems (Joshua Brenet 76'); Luuk de Jong (Luciano Narsingh 117'), Jurgen Locadia
Three things we learned
1. PSV came to play
It would have been easy for PSV to hang their hat on their first-leg performance and just take the hammering many expected Atlético to give them. After all, the Spaniards are the far superior side on paper and PSV had already done admirably considering that this was their first time in the Champions League knockout rounds in nearly a decade.
But they weren't happy with just that one good leg. While PSV set up in a very defensive shape, they were perfectly willing to get forward with pace and energy every time Atléti gave them the opportunity to. Sure, they didn't get many shots off, but they regularly put pressure on their hosts' defense, which is more than anyone really expected to see from them in this game. They performed brilliantly, and deserve full credit and praise for not getting overawed or intimidated by the occasion.
2. What on earth happened to Antoine Griezmann?
The French attacker has been fairly talismanic for Atlético Madrid since he arrived last season, scoring vital goals by the bucketful and looking wildly impressive the vast majority of the time. Against PSV in this match, though, Griezmann looked far less impressive. He was tentative, he was mistiming runs, he wasn't linking up well with his teammates -- it was just a bizarre performance from Griezmann, lacking all of his trademark confidence and grace. It didn't even look like PSV were doing anything special to unsettle him, he just wasn't anywhere near his usual level in this match. That definitely made life a lot harder for Atlético than they'd wanted it to be on Tuesday.
3. Someone is going to pay Jeroen Zoet a lot of money
PSV's goalkeeper put on a show in the first leg of this tie, but he was even better in this match. He's been drawing some attention for a long string of strong performances in the Eredivisie over the past couple of years, but his awe-inspiring display against an excellent Atlético attack over 210 minutes in this tie will have opened eyes all over Europe -- though his shaky performance in the penalty shootout may have raised a few eyebrows. Some team in England or Germany or Spain or maybe even Italy who need a goalkeeper are going to make PSV an offer they can't refuse for Zoet this summer, and he's going to become a very well-paid man because of it. And you know what? He's earned it. Zoet is good.