Atletico beat Juventus in Champions League clash

Diego Costa

Madrid, Feb 21. Atletico Madrid bounced back from its inconsistent recent performances
to beat Serie A powerhouse Juventus 2-0 in
round-of-16 action in the Champions League here.

The home
team had many more scoring chances during this first-leg match-up at Wanda
Metropolitano Stadium on Wednesday night, reports Efe news.

But the
opening goal proved elusive due in part to a pair of controversial decisions by
the video assistant referee (VAR) system, which made its much-awaited debut at
Europe’s premier club football competition at the round-of-16 stage.

Diego
Costa
wins

Playing his
second game since returning from an injury absence of more than two months,
striker Diego Costa won nearly every battle for the ball on the ground
and in the air early on and also appeared to have earned a penalty when he was
brought down by defender Mattia De Sciglio at the edge of the area at around
the half-hour mark.

VAR
overturned the call on the field, however, ruling that the contact occurred
just outside the penalty box.

Antoine
Griezmann had a chance on the ensuing close-range free kick, but Juve
goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was able to clear it away for a corner.

Earlier,
Atletico superstar net minder Jan Oblak had made his presence felt with a
remarkable save of a Cristiano Ronaldo free kick in the ninth minute.

Shortly
after the intermission, Atletico saw a couple of golden chances go by the
wayside.

First, Costa
badly botched a shot after receiving a sublime through ball from Griezmann in
the 50th minute; just a few minutes later,
the French superstar appeared to score on a delicately struck chip shot, but
Szczesny got just enough of his finger on the ball to send it off the crossbar.

Atletico’s
frustrations then continued to mount, thanks to a second unfavourable VAR
ruling.

Alvaro
Morata, who had come on for Costa in the 58th
minute, appeared to finally open the scoring 12 minutes later on a header off a pass from Filipe Luis.

It was waved
off though because Morata was determined to have shoved Giorgio Chiellini
before the goal was scored.

The
exasperation of Atleti’s fans turned to elation, however, down the final
stretch of the contest.

Jose Gimenez
finally made the score 1-0 when he pounced on a loose ball in
the area in the 78th minute after a Thomas Lemar corner
kick.

Five minutes
later, defender Diego Godin capped off an outstanding game by gathering a
failed clearance by Mario Mandzukic and sending a shot off of Ronaldo and into
the back of the net.

Atletico,
who arguably earned their best win of the season after a pair of La Liga losses
earlier this month to Real Betis and Real Madrid, are seeking their maiden
Champions League title.

The second leg of the Spanish-league club’s round-of-16 match-up against Juve will be played at Juventus Stadium in Turin on March 12.

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