A local derby took place in Libson today. For the first time in Champions League history, the final two teams were from the same city. Atlético Madrid as David, versus Real Madrid; Goliath.
Atlético was riding a wave of confidence into the match. A week ago they mustered a draw against Barcelona to win the La Liga title. Atlético became the only other club besides Barcelona and Real Madrid to win La Liga in over a decade. They were hoping to finish off the slaying of Spain’s two-headed football monster by winning their first UEFA Champions League title. Although, it’s never a good sign when your star striker has to be rubbed down with horse placenta just to make the starting XI, but we’ll get to that.
Real Madrid entered today with the most Champions League titles all-time, but they’re trying to capture their 10th, which has eluded them since their last title in 2002. It seemed to be Real’s title to lose. Ronaldo is coming off an incredible season, having scored over 50 goals in all competition. The match was taking place in his home country of Portugal. Real were destined to be champions of Europe; or so it seemed.
Atlético’s star forward Diego Costa underwent a controversial horse placenta treatment in order to start the match, but he only lasted eight minutes. Twitter erupted in criticism, with people questioning why he started, only for Atlético to waste a substitution on him in the first ten minutes of the match:
— Jerrad Peters (@jerradpeters) May 24, 2014
Diego Costa off after just 8 minutes. Almost as long as Kim Kardashian’s marriage. — SPORT Humour (@SportHumour) May 24, 2014
so, in the end diego costa lasted just over eight minutes. totally ridiculous selection by atletico.
— Ken Early (@kenearlys) May 24, 2014
The hatred that the team’s feel for each other was evident early on in the match, when Sergio Ramos and Raúl García were given yellow cards, following a little dust-up.At the 36’ mark Atlético Madrid struck first with a header from Diego Godín. Real’s keeper, Iker Casillas, could only watch in horror as the ball glided over his head into the bottom right corner of the goal:All the pressure was on Real Madrid entering the second half. They had a number of chances to equalize early on, with a Ronaldo free kick that was saved by Courtois, a couple missed headers by Ronaldo, and a number of great chances for Gareth Bale. Real had plenty of opportunities but failed to convert them, one after the other.
Alonso’s reaction on Gareth Bale’s third miss https://t.co/QuvhBkwjKj
— Football Vines (@FootballVines) May 24, 2014
For the final 20 minutes, it seemed as if the ball never left Atlético’s side of field. Their defenders were giving every ounce of energy they had to stop Real Madrid from scoring. Atlético fended off one Real attack after another in the finals. It was about as intense as could be. Atlético was playing Herculean defense.
Real absolutely piling on the pressure now – Atletico holding firm. 1-0 Atletico, 84 mins gone #CLFinal
— The Sun – Football (@TheSunFootball) May 24, 2014
I want a score, I want extra time #CLFinal
— gmannVOLS (@gmannVOLS) May 24, 2014
And then it happened. In the 3rd minute of added time, Sergio Ramos sent a desperate header into bottom left corner of the net. It came off a beautiful cross from Luka Modric. Insanity ensued.
— Joe Pickering (@Joethepublicist) May 24, 2014
As extra time started, it felt as if all of the momentum had swung in favor of Real. Atlético’s players looked as if they had used everything they had to try and prevent Real from equalizing and Real continued to put the pressure on them.
The first period of extra time was uneventful aside from a controversial free kick by Ronaldo that was blocked by the Atlético wall of players in the 100’. It appears that the Atlético player that blocked the shot extended his arm and Ronaldo pleaded for a handball. It wasn’t called.
— SkySportsCL (@SkySportsCL) May 24, 2014
Ultimately, it wouldn’t matter. With 10 minutes remaining in extra time, Gareth Bale finally broke through and scored the winning goal for Real Madrid. In that brief second, he went from being “Gareth Fail,” to the hero of the match.And just like that, Atlético’s dreams of being the champions of Europe were erased. Real Madrid kept piling onto Atlético’s disappointment with another goal from Marcelo and a successful penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo, who instantly ripped off his shirt in celebration.The final 4-1 score doesn’t reflect how intense a match this was. It seemed as if Atlético was sure to win it until the final minutes of added time. Real never gave up and they proved that they’re still the kings of Madrid. For the 10th time in the club’s history, Real Madrid can celebrate as champions of Europe. The celebration will be short, however, as the world’s best players prepare for Brazil.