UEFA Champions League
Round of 16, First-leg
Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
67′ Pereiro Sent Off (Second bookable offence)
Atlético Madrid were held to a goalless draw in the first-leg of their Round of 16 tie against ten-men PSV at the Philips Stadion.
Despite dominating possession and with PSV having Gastón Pereiro dismissed early in the second half, the 2014 runners-up couldn’t take advantage and were left frustrated.
The visitors’ intentions were clear from the off and went close after three minutes when a long-ball from Gabi found Luciano Vietto, whose scuffed effort beat goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet, but not recovering defender Jeffrey Bruma, once of Chelsea, who cleared the ball off the line.
In the 17th minute, the visitors almost repeated the feat. Stefan Savić, this-time, played a long-ball towards Koke, who saw Zoet off his line, and attempted to lob him, but the retreating keeper claimed it with ease.
The visitors were warned about playing a high-line and almost paid the price before the half-hour mark. Antoine Griezmann was played through on-goal, but with just the keeper to beat, the Frenchman fired a shot that Zoet managed to palm away with a strong left arm.
Two minutes later, the home side went close with their first real clear-cut opportunity. A nice one-two between Pereiro and Davy Pröpper, ended with the latter firing a strike straight at Jan Oblak.
After half-time, the visitors were in the ascendancy and put the hosts under immediate pressure, and the Dutch champions were clearly under the cosh with Pereiro receiving a yellow card for pulling back former Chelsea full-back Filipe Luís.
In the 61st minute, the visitors thought they had taken the lead. In a match where set-pieces were relatively poor, the only good delivery was met by Diego Godín, who headed home – only for the referee to blow his whistle, after the Uruguayan defender was adjudged to have climbed on his man.
Six minutes later, the hosts were reduced to ten-men when Pereiro led with his arm in an aerial contest with his compatriot Godín, who made the most of it.
The dismissal didn’t really change the complexion of the game, with Atlético dominant throughout the game. They went close minutes later when a Gabi strike from-range forced Zoet into another good save.
In the 69th minute, the visitors brought on former Liverpool and Chelsea striker Fernando Torres, and he went close in the 78th minute when his goal-bound effort deflected over the bar after Griezmann found the substitute.
Late in the game the home side with ten-men went close to finding an unexpected goal. Two substitutes combined: Jorrit Hendrix sent in a great delivery into the back-post for the waiting Maxime Lestienne, who volleyed over from a tight-angle.
That was the last action of the game as the referee blew his whistle to bring the first-leg to an end.
The result meant that both sides will need to improve if they are to progress into the Quarter-finals, and for that to happen, it would require one of the sides to score in the second-leg. The return leg will be crucial and knowing that Atlético are always a threat on the counter-attack, it will be very difficult to see PSV coming out with a good result. However, should PSV score, they would have the advantage with an away goal, but even that seems unlikely, but stranger things have happened in football.