La Decima Arrives!
Real Madrid win their 10th European Cup final in dramatic fashion by beating Atletico Madrid 4-1 after extra time.
Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, two cross town rivals went toe to toe and dished up a Champions League final that will be remembered for years to come. It really was a special, special game of soccer between two teams who gave it their all for the biggest prize in club soccer.
The game began at a frantic pace but chances were at a premium. Atletico were dealt a serious blow in the 10th minute when their talisman and leading goal scorer Diego Costa was substituted. The first real shot on target came via a Luka Modric free kick in the 23rd minute.
Real was dominating possession but wasn’t creating any clear cut chances. Atletico Madrid on the other hand was happy to sit back and hit Real on the counter. On 27th minute, Angel Di Maria was fouled by Raul Garcia and Ramos then barged Garcia with his chest, getting a yellow card for that. Ronaldo hit the resulting free kick which went straight to the Atletico goalkeeper Courtois.
Real should have been one nil up in the 32nd minute when Gareth Bale capitalized on a Tiago stray pass but his shot went clear on goal. He and Real were made to pay four minutes later when Iker Casillas came out of his goal line and was caught in no man’s land. Godin’s header went over his head and crept over the line.
Atletico had taken the lead against the run of play and Real’s La Decima hopes were in tatters by that point. They won another corner in the 41st minute that Adrian put over the bar. The half ended with Khedira was cautioned for a foul on David Villa.
The second half began with Real in the ascendancy and Miranda getting a yellow card for bringing down Di Maria after the Argentine had gone on a wonderful run on the left side. As a result, Real won a free kick 23 meters from the Atletico goal and Ronaldo’s deflected free kick was pushed over the bar by Curtois. Real won two corners in successions but failed to covert either of those.
Carlo Ancelotti, the Real Madrid manager made a double substitution in the 58th minute. Coentrao and Khedira made way for Marcelo and Isco respectively. Real was chasing the game and the double change made a huge difference. Real missed a golden opportunity to equalize in the 62nd minute when Cristiano Ronaldo failed to connect with a brilliant cross put in by Sergio Ramos.
The Atletico manager, Diego Simeone then brought on Sosa for Raul Garcia in the 66th minute. Real were on the front foot and in the 67th minute Isco screwed a shot off target. David Villa was harshly given a yellow card in the 72nd minute when he went in for a low ball and caught Iker Casillas in the chest. Gareth Bale then found some space but shot wide off target in the 73rd minute.
As the game picked up pace, Juanfran picked up a yellow card in the next minute for a foul on Di Maria. Four minutes later, Gareth Bale went on a brilliant solo run but skewed his shot off target. Real made their last substitution when Benzema was taken off for Morata in the 79th minute. Simeone used his last substitution by brining on Alderweireld for Filipe Luis.
Atletico was on the back foot and Real was coming at them from all sides, Koke received a yellow card in the 86th minute. Five minutes were added to the normal playing time and Real finally found a way past the Atletico defense when Sergio Ramos headed in a 93rd minute equalizer from a corner. Real’s pressure had finally paid off and extra time beckoned after what had been a pulsating game of soccer.
Extra time began at a pretty rapid pace as well. The Atletico captain Gabi picked up a yellow card in the 10th minute when he clipped and brought down Marcelo. The game turned on its head when Angel Di Maria went on a run down the left side in the fourth minute of the second half extra time and shot at the goal. Curtois got a hand to it but the deflection fell in the path of Gareth Bale who nodded in from close range. Real were in the lead for the first time in the game and the La Decima was on its way now.
Real had all the momentum and Atletico’s players looked short of ideas and energy. Their opponents made them pay in style. Marcelo scored Real’s third goal of the night as his shot crept under Curtois. In the last minute of extra time, Godin brought down Ronaldo in the box and the ref pointed to the spot. The best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, stepped up to score his 17th goal of an astonishing campaign. The La Decima had arrived.
The score line does not really reflect the exact nature of the game as Atletico were just 30 seconds away from winning their first European Cup. The Ramos header really changed the course of the game and gave Real the momentum to go and bring the La Decima to Madrid. It was one brilliant game of soccer that had everything.
Just like Sir Alex Ferguson once said, “Football, Bloody Hell.”
Atletico Madrid (Starting Lineup): Courtois, Juanfran, Godin, Miranda, Filipe Luis, Gabi, Tiago, Koke, Raul Garcia, Villa, Diego Costa.
Altetico Madrid (Substitutes): Sosa, Adrian Lopez, Alderweireld
Real Madrid (Starting Lineup): Casillas, Varane, Ramos, Coentrão, Khedira, Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale, Carvajal, Modric, Di María.
Real Madrid (Substitutes): Marcelo, Isco, Morata.
Real Madrid Atletico Madrid
20(9) Shots (on goal) 11(4)
19 Fouls 27
9 Corner kicks 9
0 Offsides 4
63% Time of Possession 37%
5 Yellow Cards 7
0 Red Cards 0
3 Saves 5