The Slovenian goalkeeper was the MVP of the match and unleashed madness at the Metropolitano, saving two of Inter Milan's four penalties

Oblak gives Atletico a place in the quarter-finals in a penalty shoot-out for the ages

Los jugadores del Atlético de Madrid celebran la victoria al final del partido de fútbol de vuelta de octavos de final de la Liga de Campeones de la UEFA entre el Club Atlético de Madrid y el Inter de Milán en el estadio Metropolitano de Madrid - PHOTO/THOMAS COEX/AFP
Atletico Madrid players celebrate victory at the end of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between Club Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan at the Metropolitano stadium - PHOTO/THOMAS COEX/AFP

With everything against them, Atletico Madrid managed to overcome Federico Di Marco's early goal by pushing Inter to the limit during the 120 minutes. 

  1. Arguments to believe 
  2. Simeone beat Inzaghi to the punch 
  3. The lottery of penalties 
  4. "This year yes" 

Alongside the rojiblanco goalkeeper, Koke, Antoine Griezmann, Axel Witsel and Memphis Depay, in the second half, capped a near-perfect game that served to put Atlético de Madrid among the top eight teams in Europe.

Arguments to believe 

Even before the game, Cholo Simeone warned at the press conference: "I can't say anything to the fans: silence and accept whatever they want to give us". Said and done. The Metropolitano, true to its history, was not only up to the task, but also carried the team in one of the best atmospheres in recent memory.  

"I understand what I said before, I trust one hundred per cent in the players, I trust one hundred per cent in my team and I know they will play a good game," added Cholo in one of the most important previews in recent years for the Argentine coach. 

"This year yes" was the message from the 69,196 fans in the stands, as the entire stadium roared and sang the anthem a cappella before the ball started rolling. The match was as intense as the competition deserved. A surging Atleti did what was asked of them, pressing high and reducing Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella's chances of getting an unmarked free-kick. 

With suffering as their banner, the colchonero team saw chances come and go without reward. A shot from Samuel Lino forced the goalkeeper of the Italian team to work hard, reflecting the dominance of the home team. But, like a cold shower, Inter, in their first approach to Oblak's area, in a quick, one-touch move, took the lead, forcing Atlético de Madrid to score twice to, at least, take the game to extra time. 

However, just 120 seconds later, Atletico equalised with a goal from Antoine Griezmann's half-volley, in a controversial move due to a possible offside call by Alvaro Morata. Footballers like the number 7 have that. Marciniak, referee of the match, blew the whistle for the end of the first half. Everything was still the same as before the 46th minute, but from the home side's point of view it looked like the first goal was saved.

The Red and Whites' effort was commendable and served to put Inter in their area. The chances came and went, but it was a Marcus Thuram shot that had everyone's heart in their throats. Every minute that passed was a minute less.  

Simeone beat Inzaghi to the punch 

Appealing to the epic, Cholo Simeone showed why he is one of the best coaches in the world by bringing on Depay, Correa and Riquelme, which unleashed the ecstasy of the Metropolitano. Ten minutes were enough to prove the coach right. In a move that was born from a mistake by Inter due to pressure from Correa, which was continued by Riquelme and finished by Depay after a masterful pass from the red and white captain, Koke, Atleti culminated a comeback that would blow everything out of the water in the Madrid stadium. 

In the last play of the match, Riquelme had in his boots the direct pass to the quarter finals of the Champions League, but fate, always capricious, wanted it to be, minutes later in the penalty shootout, when the young youth player put the ball in the net. 

Diego Pablo Cholo Simeone entrenador del Atlético de Madrid celebra la victoria tras el partido de vuelta de octavos de final de la UEFA Champions League 2023/24 entre el Atlético de Madrid y el FC Internazionale en el estadio Civitas Metropolitano - PHOTO/JOSÉ BRETON/NurPhoto via AFP
Diego Pablo Cholo Simeone coach of Atletico Madrid celebrates victory after the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Atletico Madrid and FC Internazionale at the Civitas Metropolitano stadium - PHOTO/JOSÉ BRETON/NurPhoto via AFP

The lottery of penalties 

Courage, heart and football were not enough. The passage to the quarter-finals would be decided in a penalty shoot-out with a name and surname: Jan Oblak. The Slovenian was facing his fifth penalty shoot-out with a record of two defeats and two victories. 

In the penalty shootout, Inter began by taking the lead, but Oblak's two anthological saves in the next two kicks not only put Inter in the quarter-finals, but also made them forget Saúl's mistake in the second shootout. Lautaro, the star of the Inter team, blasted the fourth penalty over the crossbar to give Atlético de Madrid a place in the quarter-finals. 

El delantero holandés del Atlético de Madrid #09 Memphis Depay celebra el segundo gol de su equipo durante el partido de fútbol de vuelta de octavos de final de la UEFA Champions League entre el Club Atlético de Madrid y el Inter de Milán en el estadio Metropolitano -PHOTO/JAVIER SORIANO/AFP
Atletico Madrid's Dutch striker #09 Memphis Depay celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between Club Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan at the Metropolitano stadium - PHOTO/JAVIER SORIANO/AFP

"This year yes" 

Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Manchester City, PSG, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal complete the draw. This Friday at 12:00 (CET) at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, the quarter-final, semi-final and home team for the Wembley final will be decided. The first leg of the quarter-finals will be played on 9-10 April, with the second leg in a week's time on 16-17 April. The semi-finals will take place with the first round on 30 April and 1 May, and the second round on 7-8 May. The grand final will take place at Wembley on 1 June 2024. 

The competition gets serious and Atlético de Madrid sends a clear message to the rest of the teams: playing at the Metropolitano is to start by losing.