Friday, May 25, 2018

Atletico Madrid 2-1 Real Madrid: Los Blancos reach final after crucial Isco goal

Real Madrid attacker Isco

Real Madrid attacker Isco celebrates goal

Real Madrid progressed to the UEFA Champions League final despite a 2-1 loss against Atletico Madrid tonight.

Los Blancos went into the game with a 3-0 lead from the first leg, and even though their rivals put up a huge fight, it ended up being a too bigger margin in the last European fixture at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

Atletico Madrid looked on course to be the first team to ever come back from a two goal deficit in the semi-finals of the competition after netting twice in 16 minutes, and seemingly leaving Real Madrid stunned.

However, the game was effectively over when an Isco goal just before half-time meant Los Colchoneros had to score five in order to face Juventus in the final, and the second-half was played at a much slower pace.

Superb start by Atleti

You wouldn’t have guessed that Atletico Madrid were the team 3-0 down at the start of the match, as Diego Simone’s men were full of energy in the opening stages and pressed Real high up the pitch.

Their first chance came only after five minutes when great work from Ferreira-Carrasco down the right hand flank allowed a cross to be met by Koke’s head, only to be thwarted by a brilliant save from Keylor Navas.

Los Blancos nearly had their crucial away goal soon after when a powerful downward header from Casemiro was beaten away expertly by Jan Oblak.

The Slovenian keeper seemed to be determined to keep his proud record of never conceding a home goal in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

That sparked Atletico Madrid into life and suddenly they had a penalty claim when Carrasco looked to be clipped by Casemiro, only for it to be rejected by the referee.

Atleti score two goals in quick succession

In the 12th minute, Simone’s team made the vital breakthrough when a Koke corner was met by Saul Niguez at the near post, beating Navas who could only get a hand to it, to make it 1-0.

Just three minutes later Atleti were rightly awarded a penalty when Varane clumsily challenged Fernando Torres in the area.

Atletico Madrid had previously missed eight out of 13 penalties and six of the last seven in Spain, however they nearly failed again when Antoine Griezmann’s shot was too close to Navas who could only palm it into the back of the net.

Suddenly, just when it didn’t seem possible, the atmosphere in the Vicente Calderon increased and Los Colchoneros’ players had more desire to win the ball, sensing an historic comeback was on the cards.

Real Madrid goal crucial moment in the tie

However, Atleti fans hearts were broken in the 41st minute when a piece of majestic footwork by Karim Benzema by the corner flag somehow managed to fool three defenders, and the striker cut the ball inside to Toni Kroos.

The German international drew a great low one-handed save from Oblak, but the rebound fell to Isco who made no mistake from two yards out, making it Real Madrid’s 61st consecutive game in which they have scored.

It was a cruel blow for Simone’s men who were back to the drawing board, knowing they had to score three goals without reply to get anything from the game.

The second-half was played with the same desire and heart from the Atleti players but their efforts were met with a solid display from Navas who did well to stop them scoring again.

However, Zinedane Zidane’s men knew what was needed to see the game out and were passing the ball around comfortably in midfield.

The game ended with a fifth consecutive loss for Atletico Madrid in the knockout stages of the Champions League to their bitter rivals.

Real Madrid will now face Italian giants Juventus in the final in three weeks, and will try to be the first team since AC Milan 27 years ago to reclaim the famous trophy.

Atletico Madrid: Oblak 8, Godin 7, Savic 7, Gimenez 7 (Thomas 7) Luis 7, Koke 7 (Correa 7), Saul 7, Carrasco 8, Gabi 7, Griezmann 7, Torres 7 (Gameiro 7)

Subs not used: Moya, Lucas, Tiago, Gaitan

Real Madrid: Navas 7, Ramos 6, Varane 5, Marcelo 6, Danilo 6, Kroos 7, Casemiro 6 (Varquez 6), Modric 7, Ronaldo 6, Benzema 7 (Asensio 6), Isco 7 (Mortata 6)

Subs not used: Casilla, Nacho, Rodriguez, Kovacic

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir


Ashley Randall

Ash is a freelance football writer who lives, breathes and dreams the beautiful game. A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder, if he isn't at Molineux then he will be watching any game on television that he can set his eyes on. Producing work for various football websites and publications, Ash has also written for regional newspapers and global magazines.



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