Atletico 2-1 Dortmund: Hosts survive late rally but all to play for in Champions League quarter-final

Late drama: Julian Brandt came so close to a last-gasp equaliser for Borussia Dortmund in Madrid (REUTERS)
Late drama: Julian Brandt came so close to a last-gasp equaliser for Borussia Dortmund in Madrid (REUTERS)

A second-half rally from Borussia Dortmund left their Champions League quarter-final tie against Atletico Madrid finely poised ahead of next week’s all-important decider on home soil.

Substitute Sebastien Haller executed a brilliant turn and finish to halve the deficit for Edin Terzic’s side before both Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Julian Brandt hit the crossbar in a pulsating finish to Wednesday night’s entertaining first-leg tie at the Metropolitano Stadium.

There was a marked improvement after the break from Dortmund, who had produced a defensive disasterclass in the first half to trail 2-0 and almost quickly end any hopes of reaching a first Champions League semi-final since they finished as runners-up in the competition to Bayern Munich under Jurgen Klopp at Wembley back in 2013.

They were caught trying to play out from the back and ruthlessly punished with just four minutes on the clock, Argentine midfielder Rodrigo De Paul firing home after Chelsea loanee Ian Maatsen lost the ball under intense pressure following a risky pass from goalkeeper Gregor Kobel.

Things quickly went from bad to worse for Dortmund as rampant Atletico thundered forward in search of more goals to kill off the tie early, breaching their defences again after the half-hour mark when another desperate defensive mix-up led to Antoine Griezmann scooping a gorgeous pass that was firmly dispatched by Brazilian wing-back Samuel Lino.

Dortmund had it all to do but improved notably for an absorbing second half, with chances at both ends including a vital save from Kobel to deny Lino a second goal from close range to keep his side alive in the tie.

Former West Ham forward Haller eventually reduced the deficit with less than 10 minutes to play as he turned sharply inside the box and slammed the ball past the helpless Jan Oblak, setting up a grandstand finish to the first leg.

Mats Hummels’ recovery was crucial to Angel Correa spurning another golden chance for Atletico late on, with England Under-21 international Bynoe-Gittens then seeing a 25-yard effort deflected onto the crossbar.

Rejuvenated Dortmund pushed hard for a last-gasp leveller, with Brandt thumping a header against the woodwork in the final seconds of added time as Diego Simeone’s men held on for a narrow lead with all still to play for at Signal Iduna Park next week.