Renan Lodi put Atletico Madrid through to the Champions League quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
After a 1-1 draw in the round of 16 first leg three weeks earlier, Lodi’s first-half header secured a 2-1 aggregate triumph for the defending La Liga champions.
Anthony Elanga scored United’s goal in Madrid but missed an early chance to convert a pass from Bruno Fernandes, who joined the team after testing positive for COVID-19.
Atletico pulled out and made life difficult for United after Lodi’s first Champions League goal was enough to send them through to the semi-finals for the second time in three seasons.
Jan Oblak dodged a close-range kick from Elanga with his header in the 13th minute, while David de Gea did it brilliantly to prevent Rodrigo de Paul from 25 yards wide.
Fernandes was denied a penalty after an entry from Reinildo before João Félix saw a goal disallowed for offside against Marcos Llorente in the build-up.
Atlético still entered the break after Lodi headed in Antoine Griezmann’s goal, with United furious that Reinildo had not been penalized for a tackle at Elanga moments earlier.
Elanga had a good wide shot 30 seconds after the restart, while Jadon Sancho had a shot just before the hour mark.
Oblak made another good header from Raphael Varane who looked destined for the top left corner with 13 minutes left.
It was Ralf Rangnick’s side the closest to keeping his last title hope alive this season, with Atletico keeping their progress.
What does that mean? United pay again for slow start
It’s not a good sign for United if they draw the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie. The team are now eliminated from the last four rounds in which they played the opener, three of which against opponents Spain.
Moreover, United have won just two of their last nine Champions League home games against Spanish opponents.
United needed their players to stand out on the big occasion, but Cristiano Ronaldo was a peripheral figure. He failed to register a single goal attempt, which he has not experienced in a Champions League match where he has played at least 45 minutes since May 2011 (semi-final second leg against Barcelona with the Real Madrid).
If there’s one thing Atlético know how to do, it’s defend an advantage. His second half was the classic Diego Simeone, as his side kept their first clean sheet against an English side in the competition. They have also avoided conceding at least once in seven consecutive Champions League games for the first time since 2013.
Main facts about Opta
- Manchester United have been knocked out in six of the last eight Champions League matches, having won 13 of the competition’s previous 16 fixtures.
- Atlético have already eliminated the three English teams that won the Champions League (Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea) from the competition. They are the only team to have knocked out each of these three teams in the Round of 16 in the history of the competition.
- United have kept just two goals in their last 19 Champions League games, conceding 29 in the process.
- Since the start of 2013-14, Diego Simeone’s first Champions League campaign, Atlético have kept 42 goals in the competition, at least three more than any other side.
- Lodi became the 217th Brazilian player to score in the Champions League, with at least 19 more goalscorers than any other nation in the competition (excluding own goals).
What is the next?
Atletico face Rayo Vallecano in La Liga on Saturday, while United won’t be in action until a Premier League meeting with Leicester City at Old Trafford on April 2.