Atletico knock Liverpool out

Neymar shines as PSG beat Dortmund to reach Champions League quarters

BARCELONA: Champions League holders Liverpool were knocked out of the competition in the last 16 by Atletico Madrid after the Spanish side won 3-2 at Anfield in extra-time on Wednesday, completing a 4-2 aggregate victory.
Paris Saint-Germain beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 behind closed doors at the Parc des Princes to reach the quarterfinals 3-2 on aggregate.

Georginio Wijnaldum’s brilliant 43rd minute header earned Juergen Klopp’s dominant Liverpool a 1-0 lead after 90 minutes and Roberto Firmino doubled the lead four minutes into the additional period with Atletico on the back foot.
However a mistake from Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian allowed Marcos Llorente to score and the midfielder added another to turn the tie completely in Atletico’s favour.
Alvaro Morata completed Diego Simeone’s team’s memorable victory against the Reds and sent the Madrid side into the quarterfinals.
“We knew it would be very difficult even with the lead, Liverpool are a fantastic side,” said Atletico defender Kieran Trippier.
“We just needed to stay defensively strong, keep our shape and frustrate Liverpool as much as we can. We kept on believing, we kept on going and going and we got the win.
“We knew we would get our chances and it was about being clinical in that moment and it was that way tonight. We kept our composure and knew our chances would come.”
Wijnaldum’s perfectly placed downward header from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross sent Liverpool ahead just before half-time and levelled the tie.

Liverpool ramped up the pressure in the second half with Salah and Roberto Firmino both denied by superb Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
Andy Robertson headed against the crossbar and Trent Alexander-Arnold had another effort beaten away by Oblak at full stretch during an intense spell of Liverpool attacking.
With five minutes remaining Sadio Mane flashed a bicycle kick over the crossbar after Wijnaldum’s header fell to him, and Salah missed the top corner by inches moments later.
Oblak came to the rescue again with a smart save from Wijnaldum at the start of extra-time but he could do nothing to stop Firmino from striking in the 94th minute.
Wijnaldum crossed for the Brazilian striker whose header bounced back off the post, but with Oblak stranded Firmino was able to convert the rebound.
However Atletico, who had created little during normal time, equalised in under three minutes after a glaring error by Adrian, standing in for the injured Alisson Becker.
Adrian’s pass went straight to Joao Felix, who fed substitute Marcos Llorente to fire home a low drive, and the summer signing from Real Madrid fired in another after 105 minutes.
Llorente struck two goals from outside the area in under 10 minutes, having scored a total of three goals in the rest of his career.
Liverpool fought in vain for the final quarter of an hour and Morata finished them on the break, celebrating wildly with the 2,800 fans who travelled.
“I think the performance overall was very good (so) we’re bitterly disappointed,” said Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson.
“To concede the goals we did is not like us so very disappointing and we have to take it on the chin. We created so many chances to score and couldn’t find the third to kill the game off.”
French champions PSG were bidding to overturn a 2-1 first leg defeat but had to do so without any supporters after the stadium in Paris was closed as part of measures to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.
Despite the restrictions, thousands of PSG supporters gathered outside before the game to greet the team bus arriving, ignoring recommendations to avoid large gatherings.
World record signing Neymar was heavily involved in the early stages for PSG and he broke the deadlock after 28 minutes when he headed home from Angel Di Maria’s corner.
PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas twice denied Dortmund’s English forward Jadon Sancho before the French side doubled their lead on their night in first-half stoppage time.
Juan Bernat steered home Pablo Sarabia’s low cross from the right to give Thomas Tuchel’s side a vital second against his former team.
Roman Burki made a good save to stop Di Maria adding a third with a free-kick and Emre Can was sent off in the final stages for the frustrated Bundesliga side.
PSG players taunted Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland after the game by imitating his celebration, with the Norwegian striker unable to add to his two first leg goals.
“We showed our mental strength on the pitch and were solid, also scoring two goals,” said PSG defender Marquinhos.
“We have to keep that for the games to come. We need to retain that good mentality. Even with our backs to the wall, we showed our values. We have character and we need to savour this qualification.” — dpa

Oman Observer

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