Atletico Madrid secured their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a thoroughly professional performance against Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday night.
After seeing La Liga rivals Barcelona overturn a heavy first-leg deficit last week, Diego Simeone’s men knew there was no room for complacency with a 4-2 lead from their previous meeting in Leverkusen.
Indeed, whenever the Germans were able to breach Atletico’s stubborn defence, they found Jan Oblak in inspired form.
At one point, the Slovenian produced a stunning triple save to deny Julian Brandt and Kevin Volland from opening the scoring and summed up his brilliant performance between the posts.
It was so impressive, his teammate Antoine Griezmann has labelled Oblak as the best goalkeeper in the world.
There are some pretty decent shot stoppers around today – Manuel Neuer, David de Gea, Thibaut Courtois and Gianluigi Buffon, to name just a few – but Griezmann thinks Atletico’s no.1 has surpassed them.
“It’s why we say he’s the best goalkeeper in the world,” Griezmann said, as per The Mirror.
“He proves it in every game and he did so again.”
Oblak was less assured about his own heroics and appeared to hint that luck was on his side – particularly for the triple save.
The 24-year-old added: “I don’t know. It was going very quickly. Sometimes you defend three and the ball doesn’t go in. I’m happy for that.”
It’s worth pointing out that his opposite number also had a fine game for Leverkusen too.
Bernd Leno produced a string of great saves to prevent Angel Correa and Koke putting the tie completely out of sight.
“They came to score an early goal. First half we defended great. They didn’t have one shot on goal so we kept a clean sheet in the first half,” the Atletico keeper continued.
“Second half, it wasn’t as good as the first one (defensively) but 0-0 is okay for us.
“The first game was very important for us. We won 4-2 so we had an advantage here in Madrid,” he added.
“We knew we’d be a lot busier (on Wednesday) against Bayer. They have a good team, a young team. They play really well up front.
“We tried to win tonight. We didn’t win, we drew, but the most important thing is to go to the quarter-final. Now lets see who we’re going to play.”