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Atletico survive late Dortmund pressure to hold on for 2-1 win

champions league quarter final first leg atletico madrid v borussia dortmund
Borussia Dortmund's Sebastien Haller pulls a goal back for his team in the 81st minute

Atletico Madrid struck twice in a dominant first half but had to survive a late fightback from Borussia Dortmund before earning a 2-1 win in their Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday.

The Spaniards were in complete control in the first half but had to soak up late pressure from the Germans who cut the deficit with Sebastien Haller in the 81st minute and then twice hit the woodwork.

“We won, which is the important thing,” said man-of-the-match Antoine Griezmann. “The end of the game doesn’t matter. It’s a shame about the goal we conceded and that feeling of being behind defending.

“There were moments when we could have scored a third but the truth is that we have suffered a lot in the second half.”

“But it’s a very important to win. Now we need to go there and hopefully we can win. We know we have the level to reach the semis, we have demonstrated that on the pitch,” added the France international.

Atletico, looking for their first semi-final spot in seven years, put the visitors on the backfoot with a frenetic high-pressing game and it paid off after four minutes with Dortmund keeper Gregor Kobel delaying a pass to Ian Maatsen and Rodrigo De Paul intercepting it to slot in.

Only three minutes later Kobel pulled off a sensational one-handed save to push Axel Witsel’s backheel flick over the bar but the Germans were seriously struggling to get the ball out of their own half.

Their best chance was a low show by Maatsen that Atletico keeper Jan Oblak pushed wide.

DORTMUND MISTAKES

The Spanish side scored again courtesy of another defensive blunder as Samuel Lino, who will miss the return leg next week after being booked, doubled their lead in the 32nd from an Antoine Griezmann assist.

The introduction of Julian Brandt after the break instantly gave Dortmund more punch up front but Lino forced another superb Kobel save in the 75th front before Sebastien Haller cut the deficit in the 81st minute to improve the Germans’ odds going into next Tuesday’s return leg.

Defender Mats Hummels, making his 500th appearance for Dortmund, then kept them in the game, slid in to stop Angel Correa.

The Germans missed two chances to equalise late in the game, with Jamie Bynoe-Gittens’ deflected shot in the 87th bouncing off the crossbar and Brandt’s last-gasp header also hitting the woodwork in stoppage time.

“Everything remains open,” said Dortmund coach Edin Terzic. “The first 30 minutes were not good enough. Often, at this level, it’s already over if you make so many mistakes. But we didn’t accept that and still managed to show what we’re capable of.”

“We made too many mistakes. In the end, a draw wouldn’t have been undeserved. Now we look forward to what’s coming in six days. Today, we felt what they want and now we know what we have to do at home,” he added.

Security had been tightened around the Metropolitano stadium following a threat of attacks by the resurgent Islamic State militant group with hundreds of officers inside and outside the stadium.

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