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Late Arnautovic strike gives Inter 1-0 win over Atletico, De Jong penalty earns PSV draw with Dortmund

champions league round of 16 first leg inter milan v atletico madrid
Inter Milan's Marko Arnautovic celebrates after scoring the only goal of the game

A late goal  gave Inter Milan a slender 1-0 home victory over Atletico Madrid while in the nights other Champions League last-16 first leg tie in Eindhoven, PSV and Dortmund battled out a 1-1.

Substitute Marko Arnautovic, who had replaced the injured Marcus Thuram at halftime, redeemed himself following several missed chances by squeezing the ball home after Lautaro Martinez’s shot was saved by goalkeeper Jan Oblak in the 79th minute.

It was only the second time the teams had played each other, with Atletico winning 2-0 in the UEFA Super Cup back in 2010.

“It’s very satisfying. The lads were wonderful against a physical, technical side that did not make it at all easy,” Inter manager Simone Inzaghi told Sky Sport Italia.

The return fixture is on March 13 in the Spanish capital.

“We know this is only the first leg, the second match will be tough, and certainly there are regrets for the result considering with all that we created, we deserved a wider scoreline. This is football, we keep going,” Inzaghi added.

Inter wore black armbands as their fans at San Siro paid tribute to the club’s former player Germany World Cup-winner Andreas Brehme who passed away aged 63 earlier on Tuesday.

INTER DOMINANCE

Inter dominated the match and although Atletico had their chances the home side’s solid defence prevented the visitors from getting any attempts on target.

Samuel Lino had Atletico’s first opportunity but his right-footed curler went just wide of the far post.

Ahead of the interval Martinez and Thuram had openings to break the deadlock for Inter but also came up against a resilient defence, with attempts blocked or saved by Oblak.

Inter started the second half on the attack as Federico Dimarco supplied a cross to Arnautovic, who slid in slightly late and ballooned the ball over from close range.

Just after the hour the home fans again expressed their frustration as Arnautovic, having found himself free in front of goal, sent another effort over the crossbar before the villain became the hero of the night with his late winning goal.

“The third chance came after I missed a couple and I’m happy to have scored for the people who came here to cheer as well as for my team mates and for my family, who were here tonight,” Arnautovic told Mediaset.

Despite the late win it was also a night of concern for Inzaghi as Frenchman Thuram, a pivotal player this season, was substituted at halftime, seemingly struggling with a leg injury.

The 26-year-old has made a significant contribution this term with 12 goals and 11 assists in all competitions.

“He will have tests and we hope that we won’t lose him for long,” said Inzaghi.

Donyell Malen scored a superb goal against his former side but a second-half penalty from Luuk de Jong earned a 1-1 draw for PSV Eindhoven in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund at the Philips Stadion on Tuesday.

Dutch international Malen rifled in a thunderous shot from a tight angle after 24 minutes but the home side created the better chances and finally took one when De Jong scored from a spot-kick, awarded for a foul by Dortmund defender Mats Hummels.

That goal stretches PSV’s unbeaten home run to 31 games in all competitions and leaves the tie evenly poised with the return leg in Dortmund to come on March 13.

“We should have brought much more calmness to the game. Hummels told Amazon Prime. “We let the heated atmosphere get to us too much. I saw a very beatable Eindhoven today.

“We were not good enough with the ball. In our home game, we simply need to play better with the ball. Then, I am very confident we will progress.”

The match was PSV’s first Champions League knockout tie in eight seasons as they bid to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since the 2006-07 campaign.

Malik Tillman had an excellent chance for the opener when he was teed up on the edge of the box and, as the Dortmund defence parted in front of him, dragged his shot wide.

Dortmund took the lead with a wonderful strike from Malen, who had four successful years at PSV before moving to the Bundesliga in 2021.

Malen appeared to be crowded out by two home defenders but managed to get a powerful shot away from 14 yards which took a slight deflection and beat keeper Walter Benitez as it went in off the crossbar.

PSV were awarded a penalty by referee Srdjan Jovanovic early in the second half when Hummels lunged in on Tillman.

The defender got a healthy touch to the ball before making contact with the German-born United States international, but the VAR confirmed the on-field decision, much to the visitors’ dismay.

De Jong easily finished from 12 yards to create a small bit of club history as in doing so he overtook Ruud van Nistelrooy as PSV’s leading scorer in the Champions League with nine goals.

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