German team RB Leipzig on Thursday stunned Atletico Madrid 2-1 to book their first-ever semifinal berth in the UEFA Champions League. Tyler Adams and Dani Olmo were on the scoresheet for Leipzig, while Joao Felix scored the only Altetico goal from the 12 yards spot.
The victory will see RB Leipzig playing their first ever match in the top four of Europe’s premier club competition within just 11 years of their formation and four years of featuring in top-flight football. Leipzig will now face French giants Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), another first time semi-finalists.
For Atletico Madrid, Champions League had provided them perfect opportunity to console the disappointing season they had in Spain this time. En route to the quarters, the Diego Simeone-nanaged team had defeated defending Champions Liverpool in the round of 16.
Known as one of the most astute tacticians in Europe currently, Simeone’s efforts were nullified by the young 33-year-old RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann.
A forgettable first half was more worrying for Atletico, who struggled to escape their own half, even if Leipzig never really turned their pressure into any chances.
Marcel Halstenberg had the best opening but lashed over on the volley at the back post while the excellent Dayot Upamecano headed straight into the hands of Jan Oblak when given too much space in the box.
In between, VAR took a long time looking at a possible Atletico penalty but the contact between Peter Gulasci and Niguez’s heel was minimal and the correct decision was made.
Leipzig were still in the ascendancy after half-time. Sabitzer had been captain until he picked up a knee injury in June and it was his perfect cross that created the opener, Olmo nipping in at the front post and heading past Oblak into the far corner.
Simeone threw on Felix to spark his team into life and the 20-year-old made a difference. He played a neat one-two with Diego Costa before poking the ball away from the lunging Lukas Klostermann. Felix went down and then got up to score the penalty.
With AFP inputs (accessed via PTI)