Atletico Madrid sneaked through to the semi finals despite defeat to Sporting Club in an action packed night in the UEFA Europa League.
Diego Simeone’s men were awful in a first half dominated by the Portuguese side and were deservedly behind 1-0 at the break thanks to Fredy Montero’s back post header but they held on to make it into the last four.
Sporting went close first with Marcos Acuna’s early header evading Jan Oblak’s cross bar before the Slovenian dived full length to his right to keep out a powerful header from former Liverpool man Sebastian Coates.
The Liga NOS side continued to press and moved in front on 27 minutes when Bruno Fernandes’ cross from the right evaded Jan Oblak and Montero reacted quickest to nod the ball into the corner.
Bryan Ruiz and Gelson Martins both went close in stoppage time, Oblak tipping the Costa Rican’s strike over the bar before Martins missed a sitter with a header from the edge of the six yard box.
Atletico began the second half far better than in the first but took until the 77th minute to go close with Antoine Griezmann firing a free-kick just past the post.
The Frenchman then went close twice as Atleti really should have put the game to bed, firstly being denied by Rui Patricio before prodding the ball wide but Sporting couldn’t find a goal to force extra time and the La Liga side went through.
Elsewhere, Arsenal came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with CSKA Moscow and progress 6-3 on aggregate, Salzburg came from 1-0 down to Lazio to win 4-1 and go through 6-5 and Marseille beat RB Leipzig 4-2 in an action packed game in France to head through 4-3.
Sporting Club: Patricio; Ristovski (Doumbia, 79), Coates, Mathieu (Petrovic, 26); Pinto, Ruiz (Ribeiro, 70), Battaglia, Fernandes; Acuna, Martins; Montero
Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Juanfran, Godin, Savic, Lucas (Vrsaljko, 46); Koke, Gabi, Saul, Vitolo (Correa, 60); Costa (Torres, 52), Griezmann
Europa League Results:
CSKA Moscow 2-2 Arsenal (Agg 3-6) Marseille 4-2 RB Leipzig (Agg 4-3) Salzburg 4-1 Lazio (Agg 6-5) Sporting Club 1-0 Atletico Madrid (Agg 1-2)