Champions League: Inter ensures the minimum against Atlético, Dortmund brings back the draw from Eindhoven

Suspense will be in place during the return of the Champions League round of 16 matches between Inter-Atlético de Madrid and PSV Eindhoven-Borussia Dortmund

Champions League: Inter ensures the minimum against Atlético, Dortmund brings back the draw from Eindhoven

Suspense will be in place during the return of the Champions League round of 16 matches between Inter-Atlético de Madrid and PSV Eindhoven-Borussia Dortmund. The first legs played on Tuesday February 20 were tough and Inter's victory over Antoine Griezmann's Spanish club (1-0) as well as Borussia's draw in the Netherlands (1-1) give no guarantee to the Italians and Germans to see the quarter-finals.

Dominant but clumsy, Inter relied on a late goal from Marko Arnautovic to beat Atlético de Madrid and deliver the Giuseppe-Meazza stadium (1-0).

“It’s one of the most important goals of my career, after a difficult period following my injury. It took me a while to find my way to the goal. (…) I’m here to score, so it’s a pleasure to do so,” declared, at the microphone of Sky Sport, the 34-year-old Austrian striker, who came on at the break in place of the injured Frenchman Marcus Thuram .

Supported by their supporters, the Nerazzurri, unfortunate finalists in the competition last season, emerged victorious from a high-level tactical and physical battle, between two of the best organized teams in Europe.

In a tight start to the match, the Serie A leader could have benefited from a penalty when Lautaro Martinez's shot, deflected by Axel Witsel, hit Molina's arm in the area (14th). Not enough contact according to the referee, while the ball was flying into touch and not towards the goal.

The Interists continued to be the most enterprising, but fell short against a well-established Madrid defense, carried by an imperial Witsel. Despite the activity of Marcus Thuram, the first shot on target on the Italian side only arrived in the 36th minute on a header from his attacking partner Lautaro Martinez captured by Oblak (36th).

The French international took advantage of the first spaces left by the Colchoneros to showcase his power and speed and serve his Argentine captain, countered by Gimenez (39th). But as he pushed to make the difference at the end of the first period, Thuram was stopped dead on a cross shot which again found Oblak's gloves (43rd). The son of the 1998 world champion, sparkling since his arrival at Inter from Mönchengladbach, immediately went to the ground holding his adductors and was then forced to give way to Marko Arnautovic in the middle -time. According to his club, he suffers from a “right adductor contracture” and will have to be examined “in the coming days”.

His Austrian replacement initially lacked composure in front of goal by missing the target three times (49th, 52nd, 63rd) but ended up being the hero of the evening by victoriously resuming Martinez's attempt deflected by Oblak, that Reinildo was unable to push back on his line (79th).

“It’s a great victory, but everything will start again from zero when we go to Madrid. It will be a difficult match, but we will go there to win,” said the evening scorer, while Atlético is still undefeated this season in its Metropolitano stadium. But Antoine Griezmann, also injured in the right ankle, was unable to finish the match and was replaced by Correa.

There will be an atmosphere on March 13 at the Westfalenstadion, between Borussia Dortmund and PSV Eindhoven who failed to decide between themselves in the Netherlands on Tuesday evening (1-1). First there was a story of betrayal: the Dutch club was cooled by one of its former players, Donyell Malen, author of the opening score in the 24th minute. But the act did not seem completely accepted: after his powerful shot returned with the help of the crossbar, the Dutch striker did not celebrate, almost seeming to apologize to his former audience.

Well cooled, the Philipsstadion had to wait until the second half to wake up. After an unclear foul by Mats Hummels in the area on Malik Tillman, whistled and then confirmed by the video, it was home scorer Luuk de Jong who converted the penalty to equalize (56th). PSV then missed the opportunity to take cover despite numerous opportunities.

The return match in front of the famous “Yellow Wall” of the Westfalenstadion will bring back memories for PSV coach Peter Bosz, who briefly spent time on the Borussia bench in 2017. Another story of betrayal to come?