Hermoso wondergoal fires Atletico into Champions League last-16

Hermoso wondergoal fires Atletico into Champions League last-16

© AFP 2022
November 28, 2023 at 9:57 PM
Mario Hermoso won the game with a spectacular volley
Mario Hermoso won the game with a spectacular volley. Photo: JOHN THYS / AFP
Source: AFP

Atletico Madrid booked their place in the Champions League last-16 Tuesday, a sumptuous volley from defender Mario Hermoso and two catastrophic own goals firing them to a thrilling 3-1 win over Dutch champions Feyenoord.

The Group E result also meant Italy's Lazio progressed to the knock-out phase after their own 2-0 win over Celtic, who were eliminated along with Feyenoord.

Buoyed by the ever intimidating atmosphere in De Kuip for what was a must-win match, Feyenoord started the brighter, with Gambian winger Yankuba Minteh nearly poking home after eight minutes.

Atletico missed a gilt-edged chance just minutes later, a silky move releasing Spain international striker Alvaro Morata who fluffed his one-on-one with the keeper.

But the Spanish giants were ahead on 14 minutes, a calamitous piece of defending silencing the rowdy Rotterdam crowd.

The Feyenoord defence failed to deal with an innocuous lobbed cross and the ball dribbled into the goal off right-back Lutsharel Geertruida after a mix-up with his 'keeper.

The hosts seemed shell-shocked and nearly let in Morata again but he somehow contrived to put his header wide.

Atletico came into the match in outstanding form and proved too much on the night for the Feyenoord defence, which struggled to cope with the movement of Morata and French star Antoine Griezmann.

But the Dutch champions are no pushover, especially at home, and continued to press, furious that Minteh was not awarded a penalty when he went down in the box.

And it was Feyenoord that ended a pulsating first-half on top, giving manager Arne Slot something to work with at half-time.

Los Rojiblancos nearly gifted their opponents a goal themselves after the break, veteran Belgian international Axel Witsel being caught in possession but Santiago Gimenez couldn't score.

Feyenoord were punished minutes later as Atletico doubled their advantage with a wonder goal from defender Mario Hermoso, who volleyed home from an improbably tight angle.

The insurance goal knocked the stuffing out of the home side, as the Spanish side showed their class with sweeping moves that sliced open the Feyenoord defence.

Morata and Griezmann came close to putting the icing on the cake for Atletico before defensive midfielder Mats Wieffer rose highest at a corner to head home and give De Kuip some hope.

An uncomfortable final 12 minutes beckoned for the Spanish side, but another own goal put clear water between the two sides and sealed the result.

Defending a viciously whipped Atletico free kick, Feyenoord striker Gimenez headed beyond the reach of his own goalkeeper, completing a night of heartbreak for the Dutch champions and their fans.

Authors
© AFP 2022 photo
© AFP 2022