Real Madrid are making a habit of snatching the Champions League trophy away from their rivals Atletico in a very heartbreaking manner. Last night, Cristiano Ronaldo scored the pivotal penalty in the shootout to seal an 11th Champions League title for Los Blancos, second in last three years.
Real Madrid opened the scoring on 15th minuted after Sergio Ramos bundled home the opening goal from a set play. Despite their presence in the box, Atletico failed to deal with the ball and almost handed their local rivals a crucial lead in the final.
Zinedine Zidane was pleased with what he saw from his team after Real took control of the game and out-passed Atletico. Casemiro was a rock in midfield while Gareth Bale looked threatening everytime he ventured forward. As for the poster boy Ronaldo, it was a quiet night for him.
Half time saw the perfect opportunity for Diego Simeone’s time to take a breather and alter their playing style which they did by sending on Yannick Ferreira Carrasco. The Belgian really changed the game for Atletico with his decisive runs and brisk pace.
Carrasco’s impact was helped with Danny Carvajal’s injury on 52′ minute after which Danilo came on and was murdered by Carrasco throughout the second half. Antoine Griezmann missed a penalty early in the second half after Fernando Torres went down in the penalty area.
That missed penalty seemed like it was not Atletico’s night until Carrasco decided to pop up on the far left side to fire home the equalizer from Juanfran’s cross. The goal was the right reflection of the good work Atleti had put in since the restart.
Apart from their attacking brilliance, Diego Godin, Stefan Savic and Jan Oblak pulled off three remarkable saves and blocks to deny Real Madrid the winning goal. As the game went on, Atletico did not look like losing this one after their dogged work in second half and then in extra time.
After 120 minutes of pulsating action, we moved in to the penalties which has often been described as a lottery by players and the experts. After Saul Niguez made it 3-3, Sergio Ramos stepped up to put Real ahead by 4-3. Juanfran then came on to take his kick and completely scuffed it which ended up hitting the crossbar.
Then it was time for Cristiano Ronaldo to step up and score the decisive kick to win the Un-decima for his team, which he did emphatically. Ronaldo’s strike saw Zidane become the only 4th manager to win Champions League both as a player and a manager.
Many might feel bad for Atletico Madrid’s second heartbreak in 3 years but the fact remains that when it needed for the teams to hold on to their wits, Real were the better team and knew how to finish the job.
My sympathies will be with Diego Simeone’s team but as I already said there are no such things as deserving and undeserving in football, if a team has won the game they need to be congratulated. And last night it was Real Madrid’s moment with yet another Champions League triumph to their name.
Image Credit: Getty