Oblak the hero against Leverkusen again
Jan Oblak became an Atletico Madrid hero against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League two years ago and the Slovenian made his mark against the German side again with a virtuoso display on Wednesday.
The goalkeeper made a stunning triple save to deny Julian Brandt and Kevin Volland in the second half and made two more impressive stops to keep out Karim Bellarabi to help Atletico secure a 0-0 draw that sent them through to the Champions League quarter-finals 4-2 on aggregate.
Atletico’s place in today’s lasteight draw was rarely in doubt following a comfortable win in the first leg in Germany but Oblak was repeatedly called on to preserve his side’s unbeaten run at home in the competition this season.
As Oblak was given a rapturous ovation from the home fans it was easy to forget how the Slovenian had struggled in his first season since joining Atletico from Benfica for €15 million euros (RM72.4 million).
He played second fiddle to Miguel Angel Moya until his Span- ish teammate got injured during a Champions League game against Leverkusen in 2015 and Oblak ended a hero as Atletico advanced after winning a tense penalty shootout 3-2.
Oblak has barely looked back since, although he had to spend 10 weeks on the sidelines this season after dislocating his shoulder in December, but was at his acrobatic best to keep Leverkusen at bay again at the Vicente Calderon.
“Sometimes you make three saves, and sometimes they score a goal with the first attempt. It is