Atletico Madrid limped into the semi-finals of the Europa League despite a 1-0 defeat away at Sporting Lisbon in the second leg of their quarter-final clash in Portugal on Thursday.
Diego Simeone’s men toiled for much of the night at the Estadio Jose Alvalade and were ultimately beaten by Fredy Montero’s header, only for the Spanish club to benefit from a 2-0 win in the first leg in order to help them to a 2-1 aggregate victory.
Lisbon continued to cause issues down the flanks and they took the lead when Bruno Fernandes crossed into the box to leaving Oblak flapping, before Montero broke free at the back post to head back across goal and make it 1-0 to the hosts.
Atletico were much improved after half time and the visitors’ first real chance landed at the feet of Antoine Griezmann, who could only send a tame effort straight at Rui Patricio from a wide and improbable angle.
Griezmann was anonymous for much of the evening but the Frenchman almost made the final 10 minutes more comfortable for Atletico, although he saw his free kick from range fade just a few inches wide with Patricio looking beaten.
In the end the misses were not to matter as Sporting failed to create a much-needed surprise late on, leaving Simeone’s charges to edge through into the final four after an uncharacteristically lacklustre display on the road.