Atlético Madrid reached the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the fourth year in a row with a typically disciplined defensive effort to hold Bayer Leverkusen to a goalless draw.
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Atlético Madrid held Bayer Leverkusen to a goalless draw to ensure they made it to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for a fourth season running.
- All the action from Madrid as it happened
- The story of the match in photos
- All you need to know: quarter-final draw
Needing to score at least three times to stay in the competition, Leverkusen's round of 16 misery – no wins, four defeats before this tie – looked set to continue, even if the visitors made a bright start, Kevin Volland dragging an early shot just past the post.
José María Giménez had to make a crucial tackle on Julian Brandt before an off-balance Javier Hernández scooped an effort over as Leverkusen strove to find a way back into the contest, although they had cause to be grateful to their goalkeeper for preserving parity on the night. Wearing a face mask, Bernd Leno clawed out strikes from Ángel Correa and Koke before the interval, with each seemingly destined for the corner of Bayer's net.
Atlético showed flickers of promise, Antoine Griezmann screwing a shot wide seconds after half-time and then lifting one over Leno but past the post, yet in the main the best chances fell to the Bundesliga outfit. It took an exceptional triple save from Jan Oblak to deny Brandt, who had been clean through, and Volland from the follow-up, the latter having a second attempt blocked by the keeper before Hernández dragged the loose ball wide.
The Atleti keeper made further stops from Karim Bellarabi, Leon Bailey and Kevin Kampl to preserve his clean sheet late on, while Bailey flicked a near-post header across goal as Leverkusen chased in vain a consolation win on the night.
Key player: Jan Oblak (Atlético)
The Slovene international produced several superb saves over the 90 minutes to repel Leverkusen, including a sensational hat-trick that frustrated Brandt and Volland (twice) in the space of five frantic second-half seconds.
Honours even in keeping contest
With Leverkusen requiring goals from the off, it was inevitable there would be opportunities at either end, and so it transpired as both custodians excelled. In the first half Leno pulled off two super stops to keep his side in contention going into the second period. Then, after the break, it was Oblak's turn to perform heroics, his eye-catching exploits stopping Bayer gaining a foothold in the game.
Bayer bow out with heads held high
Leverkusen depart at the last-16 stage for the third time in four seasons, but this showing was a far cry from their first-leg display three weeks ago. Die Werkself not only appeared much more organised defensively, they also engineered several gilt-edged chances which, had they ended up in the net, might have made for a much more uncomfortable evening for Diego Simeone's team.
Joe Walker (@UEFAcomJoeW)
Yesterday the Atlético focus was on getting the job done and that is exactly what they did. They may not have been at their best, but the damage had been done in the first leg and the Rojiblancos did enough to guarantee a fourth consecutive season in the quarter-finals. No side will want to face them when the draw is made on Friday.
Matthew Howarth (@UEFAcomMattH)
Despite his team's elimination, Tayfun Korkut will be delighted with the performance of his makeshift defence in particular. With Bayer deprived of the suspended Benjamin Henrichs and injured duo Ömer Toprak and Jonathan Tah, the likes of Tin Jedvaj, Aleksandar Dragović and Roberto Hilbert – making just his second appearance this term at the Vicente Calderón – all stepped up to the plate.