Oblak the hero against Lev­erkusen again

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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

Jan Oblak

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