Dortmund digs deep to beat Atlético 4-2 and reach Champions League semifinals

| | Dortmund (Germany)
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Dortmund digs deep to beat Atlético 4-2 and reach Champions League semifinals

Wednesday, 17 April 2024 | AP | Dortmund (Germany)

Dortmund digs deep to beat Atlético 4-2 and reach Champions League semifinals

Marcel Sabitzer scored late and set up two goals to send Borussia Dortmund into the Champions League semifinals with a helter-skelter 4-2 win over Atlético Madrid on Tuesday.

After losing the first leg of their quarterfinal 2-1 in Madrid, Dortmund had to come from behind twice over two legs to advance 5-4 on aggregate.

Julian Brandt opened the scoring to level the tie before Sabitzer set up Ian Maatsen to give Dortmund a 2-0 lead on the night.

Atlético coach Diego Simeone responded with three changes at the break and they all paid off. A Mats Hummels own goal and goal from substitute Joaquín Correa put the Spanish side back in front on aggregate.

Then Sabitzer set up Niclas Füllkrug in the 71st minute for the Germany forward's first goal after nine scoreless games, and Sabitzer scored himself three minutes later to send Dortmund into the last four.

“That was a rollercoaster, a really great evening,” Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said. “It's not always like that for Borussia Dortmund. The last time we were in the semifinals was in 2013. This is a great day for all Borussen.”

Dortmund will face Paris Saint-Germain again in the semifinals. PSG progressed to the final four with a 4-1 win at Barcelona. The teams played already this season with Dortmund losing 2-0 in Paris in their opening group match, then drawing 1-1 in their final game as Dortmund topped Group F.

The final will be played June 1 in London, where Dortmund lost the 2013 final 2-1 to bitter rival Bayern Munich.

Tuesday's win stretched Dortmund's unbeaten run at home in the Champions League to 10 games.

"We were close to tying the game, but they were superior, and when a team is superior they should be congratulated,” said Simeone, who blamed his team's elimination on wasted opportunities from the first leg when Atletico dominated but failed to build a bigger advantage.

Atlético needed goalkeeper Jan Oblak at his best. He denied Brandt, then Karim Adeyemi, before Brandt finally made the breakthrough in the 34th, firing a powerful shot in off Oblak's leg from a difficult angle after eluding former teammate Axel Witsel.

Sabitzer then combined with Maatsen, who surged past two defenders and fired the ball inside the far post in the 39th. It was the Dutch defender's first Champions League goal.

But Atlético only needed four minutes after the break to level the tie when Hummels' attempted clearance of Mario Hermoso's header ended in his own net.

Correa should have scored shortly afterward when he nudged the ball wide. Simeone — dressed sharply in a black suit — flopped to the ground in frustration.

Correa made no mistake in the 64th when he fired in a rebound after his first attempt was blocked.

It put the visitors back in front, but Sabitzer was involved in both goals as Dortmund struck twice in three minutes to send the home fans wild.

“Such nights are special, this Champions League season is special,” Brandt said.

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