Atletico Madrid Knocks Manchester United Out Of Champions League
Manchester United were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League after a narrow 1-0 defeat by Atletico Madrid at Old Trafford, losing 2-1 on aggregate.
Bruno Fernandes returned to the Manchester United side after illness as Cristiano Ronaldo started up-front, supported by Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga. The visitors had Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix in attack, while Luis Suarez started on the bench.
The hosts started stronger as they pressed Atletico. However, Felix scored the opener but the goal was ruled out for offside. Moments later, Atletico took the lead in the 41st minute through Renan Lodi when Griezmann’s cross found the winger.
Elanga appeared to have been fouled at the other end in the build-up to the goal, but the referee waved away protests from the Manchester United players.
In the second half, United interim coach Ralf Rangnick made a triple substitution as the hosts looked for a way back into the tie. Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak was in brilliant form as his brilliant saves kept the Red Devils out.
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Renan Lodi’s first-half header was enough to take Diego Simeone’s side into the quarter-finals as Rangnick’s team endured a frustrating evening at Old Trafford.
“They caused us some issues down the sides, they started to cause us problems, then we changed things,” Atletico Madrid coach Simeone said. “Griezmann worked hard down the right and that enabled us to be better positioned.
“In the second half, we controlled the game and that made us more comfortable. We knew the opponent likes to play on the counter-attack so we decided to deny them the spaces.”
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, who pulled off extraordinary saves to keep United in the tie for most of the match was disappointed with the result as they were knocked out yet again by a Spanish side.
“We are really disappointed with the result. It’s difficult to describe in words how we feel in this moment but we did not do enough in both games,” de Gea said.
“They [Atletico] know how to play those games, tight games. They scored the goal and then it was very difficult for us to create chances. We are out of one of the most important competitions so we are really sad.”
The Champions League quarter-final draw will take place on Friday, March 18 at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. The semi-finals will also be drawn at the same time.
The list of qualified teams are: Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Benfica, Juventus or Villarreal, Lille or Chelsea.
UEFA Champions League results
Ajax 0-1 Benfica (2-3 aggregate)
Manchester United 0-1 Atletico Madrid (1-2 aggregate)