Lisbon: RB Leipzig stunned Atletico Madrid, with a 2-1 victory in their Champions League quarterfinal Thursday. In the process RB Leipzig, reached the semifinals of the Champions League for the first time in their club’s short history. With two minutes of normal time remaining, United States midfielder Tyler Adams snatched victory with a deflected shot from outside the box to set up a semifinal clash with Paris St Germain (PSG).
The German side had taken the lead in the 51st minute with a header from Spanish forward Dani Olmo. However, a disjointed Atletico Madrid were shaken into life when record signing Joao Felix came off the bench, earning and scoring a penalty to level in the 71st.
Atletico Madrid, runners-up in 2014 and 2016 in the Champions League, looked more likely to score the next goal. However, it was the club founded only 11 years ago who were left celebrating in front of the empty seats of the Estadio Jose Alvalade. The semifinal for RB Leipzig against PSG will take place August 19.
It was clear from the outset that Leipzig felt at home among European football’s elite. They fired an early warning shot when Marcel Halstenberg was picked out at the back post but his difficult volley flew off target.
Atletico responded with Yannick Carrasco bursting in from the left and firing goalwards, but Leipzig keeper Peter Gulacsi reacted well to push the effort wide.
Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig quickly settled though into the brand of attractive passing and movement that has earned them many admirers. Kevin Kampl was busy in the centre of midfield and left-wing back Angelino was enjoying plenty of space down the flanks. However, it was the performance of French central defender Dayot Upamecano that was the most impressive.
Solid defensively, he took care of Atletico’s over-isolated striker Diego Costa. He also had the confidence to bring the ball out of the back and be the starting point for Leipzig’s moves.
Six minutes after the interval, they found a way through – Marcel Sabitzer’s cross from the right was met by Olmo. The Spaniard’s angled header flashed past Jan Oblak and into the far, bottom corner.
The goal prompted Atletico boss Diego Simeone into a change, with Felix, the 20-year-old Portugal international and club record signing, introduced in the 58th minute. The move paid off when Felix glided into the box and was brought down by an ill-timed tackle from Lukas Klostermann for a penalty. He got up to bury the spot-kick to get the Spaniards back on level terms with 19 minutes left.
But with two minutes of normal time remaining, substitute Adams tried his luck with shot from outside the box. The ball deflected off defender Stefan Savic and beat the wrong-footed Oblak.
Atletico piled on the pressure but Leipzig had the belief and the fortitude to hold on for their most famous victory.