Diego Simeone's men secured their spot in the last four with two second half goals despite a disjointed performance against the crestfallen German sideAtletico Madrid overcame a late Hannover scare, earning a 2-1 win that was enough to see them into the Europa League semifinal.
Chances were at a premium in a rather drab affair but Adrian made the most of his first chance to put Los Colcherones ahead with just over an hour played. Mame Diouf equalized with 10 minutes remaining but Radamel Falcao’s winner ended any hopes for the hosts.
Atletico attempted to control possession from the off but the hosts were unwilling to let their opponents control the play, showing great confidence in front of their own fans.
Christian Pander’s regular forays forward were proving troublesome for the Spaniards but for all their intent, chances were limited.
Diouf and dragged a shot wide of the goal after capitalizing on a defensive mix-up and in the 24th minute Didier Konan Ya missed another. After breaking through the Atletico defense he stabbed a feeble effort well off target.
With the hosts lacking invention in the final third, Atletico offered a warning with two counterattacks in the 30th and 40th minutes. However, on both occasions Koke failed to pick out one of his team-mates with some dreadful passing.
The lackluster finishing continued three minutes into the second half as Falcao uncharacteristically miscued a great opportunity to shoot from the right side of the box.
Diego Simeone’s side were enjoying a far better second half as Filipe attacked down the left in an attempt to stretch an increasingly disheveled Hannover defense.
The breakthrough finally came after 63 minutes as Adrian turned Emanuel Pogatetz superbly in the box before cutting across Pander and then Zieler. He kept his composure to beat Pander once more and shrug off the keeper again before slotting into the net.
The hosts were visibly knocked by the goal and were offering Atletico far too much time and space on the goal.
However, they received a glimmer of hope as Pander’s corner was flicked on to Diouf by Diego Godin. Unmarked at the back post, he controlled the ball on his chest before volleying the ball past Thibaut Courtois.
In a bitter blow for Mirko Slomka’s men, Falcao secured the win for Atletico in the 87th minute. The Colombian cushioned Diego's delightful chipped pass before hammering an exquisite volley into the back of the net.
Atletico Madrid will face compatriots Valencia in the semifinal whilst Hannover's European adventure comes to a close after an impressive run.
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