Shootout hero Juanfran hails Atletico belief

Atletico Madrid v PSV Eindhoven Champions League

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Atletico Madrid’s Champions League match-winner Juanfran felt their nail-biting penalty shootout success against PSV Eindhoven spoke volumes of the hunger and spirit within their squad.

Diego Simeone’s side were unable to penetrate PSV over two legs, despite dominating for long spells during the second leg in the Vicente Calderon.

PSV coach Phillip Cocu said his side would be content to force penalties in Spain and so it came to pass after 120 goalless minutes in the Spanish capital.

After 14 successful penalties had been shared, it was PSV’s Luciano Narsingh that cannoned a shot off the top of the crossbar, leaving left-back Juanfran to slot home and become the hero for Atletico.

Simeone’s team also survived a shootout against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League last season and Spanish international Juanfran says they have great belief in what they are doing.

“It was a real heart-stopper, just like last year,” Juanfran said afterwards. “I’m very happy to see how the crowd got behind the side.
We believe, our coach makes us believe and we have a lot of hunger and heart. We believe in all that we do.”

City rivals Real Madrid have ended Atletico’s Champions League dreams in each of the last two seasons and, with the draw for the quarter finals to take place on Friday, Juanfran would prefer to steer clear of familiar faces for now.

“I don’t want to draw a Spanish side in the competition,” he said.
“Whoever we get will be very strong and it will be a tough tie just like this one.”

Atletico Madrid are 11.00 to win the Champions League this season while Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid – also in the hat for the last-eight – are 6.00.

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