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The UCL Round of 16: How Did Simeone’s Atlético Madrid Eliminate Inzaghi’s Inter Milan on Cruel Penalties?

The UCL Round of 16: How Did Simeone’s Atlético Madrid Eliminate Inzaghi’s Inter Milan on Cruel Penalties?

The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg witnessed its second penalty shootout in as many nights to decide the eventual quarterfinalists of the competition yesterday, as Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid, who were down by a 1-0 disadvantage over Simone Inzaghi’s Inter Milan after the first leg three weeks ago, managed to level things up in the overall score and push the game all the way to the penalty shootout. The turnout of events happened a day after Arsenal’s eventual win against FC Porto on spot kicks, and the result was almost identical, as the club who lost the first leg were able to beat past their opponents on the cruel shootout at the end.


Depay’s Late Equaliser Forced Extra Time Between Simeone’s Atlético and Inzaghi’s Inter

The current best team in the Italian top-flight football came into the second leg of the UCL Last 16 with a 1-0 advantage gained at San Siro following super substitute Marko Arnautović’s winner with 11 minutes remaining in the normal playing time three weeks ago, and the momentum was transcended into this returning leg, as Inzaghi’s side took the lead once again and extended their aggregate score from 1-0 to 2-0 moments after the half-hour mark. In the 33rd minute, a decent passage of plays saw a few Inter players connect with each other, allowing Nicolò Barella to charge into the penalty box and set up Federico Dimarco to score.

The visitors’ joy were short-lived as Simeone’s Atlético make things all square again almost instantly after Barella’s strike in the second leg. Skipper for Simeone’s Atlético Koke caught a ricocheted ball just outside the dangerous zone, and he tried to squeeze the ball towards Antoine Griezmann around the penalty spot. Two Inter Milan defenders then attempted to intercept the attacking play, but to no avail, as the all-time leading goal scorer for Atlético hit the ball first time and scored from close range to make it 1-2 in the aggregate score sheet.

Simeone’s Atlético looked to be eliminated by Inzaghi’s Inter with only several minutes left on the clock, until Memphis Depay, who was introduced to the game as a 79th-minute replacement to fellow striker Álvaro Morata, decided that this continental club football cup tie was not over. The Dutchman was present when Koke wanted to find a teammate inside the penalty area, and he shielded the ball well, followed by finding the bottom left corner for the overall equaliser and sending the game to extra time as a result.

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Oblak Brilliance Completed Simeone’s Atlético’s Turnaround

Both Simeone’s Atlético and Inzagh’s Inter went fruitless in finding the game winner over two legs in the UEFA Champions League, meaning the cup tie had to be decided on penalties. Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Depay found successes in the first two takes of the shootout, before Alexis Sánchez, Saúl and Davy Klaassen all had their efforts saved by the respective goalkeepers. What followed suit was a total contradiction to the events prior, as a treble of spot kicks were converted via Rodrigo Riquelme, Francesco Acerbi and Ángel Correa, leaving Inter captain Lautaro Martínez with no choice but to score.

The 26-year-old 2022 FIFA World Cup-winning forward with the Argentina national football team, who is on course to break the best scoring season in his professional senior club career in football at 26 goals in 36 games in all competitions played for Internazionale Milano, blasted his penalty kick way above the bar, and the failure to find the back of the net gave Simeone’s Atlético the tickets into the following round of the UEFA Champions League campaign in 2023/2024.

As contrast to the game between Simeone’s Atlético and Inzagh’s Inter that went to full distance of the penalty shootout, the other UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg between Borussia Dortmund and PSV Eindhoven ended in the normal 90 minutes plus added time, with the German Bundesliga 1 juggernauts defeating their Dutch opposition with ease via a two-nothing score line. England international Jadon Sancho and the second-half replacement to the Manchester United loanee Marco Reus were the players who helped lead the Black and Yellows book their places in the UCL Quarterfinals. You may review this European club football game via this link: 


Post-Match Conference for Simeone’s Atlético and Inzaghi’s Inter

The penalty shootout hero for Simeone’s Atlético was without a doubt Oblak, whose gigantic presence struck fear into the Inter Milan players, forcing them to miss three of their five penalty attempts in the shootout. After the match, the Slovenian national football team captain and shot stopper noted: “In the end it’s a bit about luck in the shootout. Because you have to choose the correct side and you have to make the stop. If the player takes the kick perfectly, it’s impossible to stop it. Gladly, I was able to make the saves. What matters is the victory and that we made it to the quarterfinals.”

Inzaghi was as upset as everyone at the Internazionale camp and he took to the post-match conference to talk about the penalty shootout defeat in the hands of Simeone’s Atlético. “There is real disappointment for everyone. However, I told the boys to be proud of this campaign. We didn’t lose, but unfortunately in the key moments of the game tonight we should have done better. In extra time we were in control of the game, but made a lot of mistakes. In these games you pay the price. In the first leg, we certainly could have had a bigger lead,” said the Italian.

Following their come-from-behind loss to Simeone’s Atlético, Inzaghi’s side only have the Italian Serie A campaign to focus on in the 2023/2024 Season, a competition where they currently lead by a superior 16 points with 10 league games remaining. The 47-year-old continued: “The team is not used to losing; It is a shame because we had qualification to the quarter-finals in our hands. We are disappointed, but I am proud to coach this group; They have given me some real satisfaction. Now, we have to dust ourselves down and finish off well our league campaign because we have a big aim to attain.”

You Might Be Interested: How Did Xavi’s Barcelona Made It Into the UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals with Their 3-1 Victory Over SSC Napoli?

Steven Mosier

"Eat, breathe and sleep sports" is the life motto of mine. My professional athlete career ended way earlier than I thought, but the passion remains till the present, which is why I am here writing you all the sports news you crave! Also, I am a huge fan of the Premier League as well the NBA.

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