Atletico Madrid narrowly beat Borussia Dortmund at home in their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday. The game was the tale of two halves. The Spanish side dominated the opening frame, but Dortmund fought back to stay alive in the two-legged affair.

Both teams came into the quarterfinal stage as underdogs in the competition. The two had the lowest odds to collect the trophy in May out of all eight clubs remaining in the tournament. Nevertheless, both Atleti and Dortmund are historical Champions League mainstays. The two sides had not faced off since the 2018/19 season when each team won emphatically at home in the group stage.

Visiting Dortmund gives hosts gifts for two early goals

The hosts jumped out to an early lead on Wednesday after receiving a gift from the Dortmund defense. Goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, who was not exactly under pressure, played a dangerous pass to teammate Ian Maatsen near the edge of his box. The Chelsea loanee then sent a loose pass straight to Rodrigo de Paul. The Atleti midfielder took a touch and then placed a shot with the outside of his boot into the bottom corner of the net. It was just his second goal of the entire season.

Despite having more possession in the opening half an hour, Dortmund failed to record a key pass or shot during the first 30 minutes. Instead, Atleti had multiple chances to double their lead early on in the game. Samuel Lino and Antoine Griezmann both had decent scoring opportunities inside 20 minutes.

Nevertheless, the Atleti duo eventually teamed up to net their team’s second goal in the 31st minute. Once again, the visitors aided the goal with a bit of a mix-up at the back between Nico Schlotterbeck and Mats Hummels. Griezmann pounced on the free ball and played in Lino on goal. The defender, who just previously picked up a yellow card, easily slotted a shot beyond Kobel in goal. While he scored the goal, Lino will miss the return leg due to picking up the caution.

Atletico holds on for the slim win despite a late Dortmund push

Both teams traded shots on goal in the early stages of the second half. Dortmund, despite their anemic display in the opening period, certainly seemed to come out of the break more composed. Marcel Sabitzer and Niclas Fullkrug each had efforts saved by Jan Oblak in the first 10 minutes of the half. Kobel then made up for his earlier mistake with a wonderful save to deny Lino in the 75th minute. The keeper blocked the shot from point-blank range to keep the game at 2-0.

The save was particularly important considering Dortmund managed to get a goal back just six minutes later. Second-half substitute Sebastien Haller emphatically put the ball into the back of Oblak’s net after a clever ball from Julian Brandt. Nahuel Molina attempted to block the pass from the German, but the ball fell straight to Haller inside the box.

Dortmund would hit the bar twice in the final minutes of the match but could not find a second goal. As a result, the match eventually finished as a 2-1 victory for Atleti. Haller’s late goal, however, will give the German side some hope when they host the return leg of the fixture. The two teams are scheduled to face off once again in the competition on Tuesday, April 16.