The 2019 European champions Liverpool are out of the Champions League after losing 2-3 to Atletico Madrid after extra time.
All the momentum appeared to be with the hosts after Gini Wijnaldum rose to the big occasion once again with a header just two minutes shy of half-time.
The Reds were thwarted on nine separate occasions by the sheer brilliance of Jan Oblak.
At the other end, there were no such heroics from Adrian, who needlessly rushed the ball out and effectively gave away Marcos Llorente’s second of the night, the goal which effectively sent the Rojiblancos through.
Liverpool would have needed to score twice anyway by virtue of the away goals rule, but Alvaro Morata put Atleti’s progress beyond doubt with one of the final actions of the game.
That sparked wild scenes among the Atletico players and from Diego Simeone, who left his bench and raced down the touchline.
The Argentine has had to face plenty of criticism over the two legs, not least from the Liverpool camp.
They did not take kindly to his tactics; Atletico’s spoiling, sitting deep, and ultimately proving near-impossible to penetrate.
Simeone has had the last laugh, however, as it is his side who will be in the hat for the quarter-finals.
The 49-year-old keeps up his superb record in the latter stages of the Champions League and, in fact, he has never lost a knockout tie to a squad that did not contain Cristiano Ronaldo, the king of Europe’s premier competition.
2014 – Atletico lost the final 4-1 defeat to Real Madrid after extra time
2015 – Atletico faced Real again but lost 1-0 over the two legs of the quarter-finals
2016 – The two sides met in the final once again and it ended 5-3 to Real Madrid on penalties
2017 – The Madrid rivals met a stage earlier in the last four, but it ended 4-2 to Los Blancos on aggregate
2018 – Atletico went out at the group stages
2019 – No Real Madrid, but the same, eternal problem of Ronaldo. This time it was Juventus who dispatched of Atleti in the round of 16, coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2. Remember who scored a hat-trick?
For an Atletico side which is undoubtedly a shadow of its former self, and whose non-entry in the La Liga title race this season threatened Simeone’s job earlier in the campaign, that is a remarkable record.
And all the more so now they have thrown Liverpool out of the competition and silenced Anfield.
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