x

Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 March 2019

Diego Simeone's triple change inspires 'brave' Atletico Madrid to impressive win over Juventus - in pictures

Goals from defenders Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin give the Spanish side a huge advantage ahead of the second leg in Turin

Diego Simeone hailed his "brave" Atletico Madrid players after an impressive 2-0 first-leg win over Juventus in the last-16 of the Uefa Champions League, although the manager himself deserves great credit for an inspired triple substitution.

With the last-16 first leg delicately poised and goalless as the hour mark approached, the Argentine introduced forwards Angel Correa, Alvaro Morata and Thomas Lemar.

Morata had a goal ruled out to the fury of the home supporters for a push on Giorgio Chiellini but a breakthrough finally came when defender Jose Gimenez scored after a knockdown by Morata from a corner whipped in by Lemar.

Diego Godin doubled Atletico's lead following a well-worked free kick, giving Simeone's side a huge advantage over the runaway Serie A leaders ahead of the return leg in Turin next month.

"They all knew about the substitution, I called Correa, Lemar and Morata together, and Koke and [Diego] Costa knew they were not able to play 90 minutes," Simeone told a news conference.

"They all played brilliantly after coming on and played as a team. Doing what we have done over these years is not easy, and today we did it again.

"It means we are brave," he said. "You have to be brave to start Costa and Koke after they hadn't played for over a month, and that's what I did.

"I feel so great because of these players. They represent the true meaning of Atletico. This is what we are and we aren't going to change. It's our style."

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri criticised his side for switching off in the closing stages and for not showing patience.

"Atleti came out much more aggressively with set-pieces and caught us by surprise. We knew it would be tough, that Atletico force you to play badly, to play slowly, they have been playing this way for eight years," he said.

"Atletico can play for 85 minutes defending and playing long balls and we fell asleep and were second best. If anyone came here wanting to enjoy themselves they picked the wrong night."

Juventus defender Alex Sandro will be suspended from the second leg in Turin after getting a yellow card, while Atletico will be without Costa and Thomas Partey through suspension.

"There will be great disappointment after this result but we can turn the tie around," Allegri added. "It will not be easy, we will need a great performance but it can be done and we must believe in ourselves."

Updated: February 21, 2019 08:50 AM

SHARE

SHARE

Editors Picks
Most Read