Champions League: Atletico Madrid 2-1 Real Madrid
Real Madrid face Juve in 2017 Champions League Final
In a violent spring thunderstorm that began at the final whistle, Real Madrid celebrated reaching the 2017 Champions League Final despite losing their semi-final second leg against Atlético Madrid. After a fierce battle, Real Madrid went through to the Champions League Final despite suffering a 2-1 defeat to Atlético Madrid on Wednesday at Vicente Calderon in the second leg of their Champions League tie.
Atlético Madrid 2 - 1 Real Madrid (agg 2-4)
Atlético goals: Niguez Saul 12, Antoine Griezmann 16 pen
Real Madrid goal: Alarcon Isco 42
Real Madrid will travel to Cardiff to play Juventus in another Champions League final, their third in four years. An entertaining and fiercely fought 2-1 defeat by Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid at the Vicente Calderón sealed a 4-2 agg. victory over two legs for Real, Simeone’s side would have been the team to play in the final if they played as fiercely in the first leg at the Bernabéu. “We’re going to be up against a very good side, and we’ll have to be focused, defend well and do well going forward, all of which you need in the Champions League semi-finals. We’re motivated and excited about facing a very strong team that we know will give us a really good game. We haven’t eaten in four days, so just imagine how hungry we are!” said Simeone ahead of the match.
At the end of the clash, Simeone beat his chest and roared at the crowd, celebrating his side’s victory in the match. Real Madrid, who were 2-0 down to Atlético after 16 minutes scored only one goal by Alarcon Isco making the final score 2-1 (agg 2-4). Mighty Real Madrid will play Juventus after all in the final, although they had to withstand a hard-fought attempt at a spectacular comeback. Instead holders Real Madrid have the opportunity to become the first team to retain the Champions League two years in a row. It is a massive achievement in its own right for the Merengues. Atlético’s early surge bought two goals from Niguez Saul and Antoine Griezmann, dragging the tie back to 3-2 on aggregate. However Atletico’s Madrid neighbors switched gears and took the upper hand in the second half and stood firm where a weaker team might have given up after the early onslaught as Luka Modric and Isco set the tempo. This clash was billed as a pre-farewell to Atlético’s crumbling old ground for the last half-century. Before kick-off the streets outside were surging with a red and white sea of chanting, cheering supporters, who exploded as the teams emerged on to the field. There is one more Madrid Derby ahead for the two Madrid Spanish La Liga titan clubs, but this was the last real gala occasion at the Calderón after a fond 50 years.
Ahead of the second leg Real Madrid was expected to win after Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in the tie at the Bernabé. But there were surprises right from the game’s start after Simeone began with Fernando Torres up front alongside Antoine Griezmann, a sign of the need to pursue a win in this game from the first whistle. As Real kicked off Simeone pacing in a black plastic overcoat and skinny slacks, urging his team forward. In front of a roaring crowd, Real’s Sergio Ramos was upended and Luka Modric bundled. Torres drew a sharp near-post save from Keylor Navas. At the other end Jan Oblak managed to take away a header from Casemiro. Atlético was determined to score early, pressing hard for a goal that arrived in the 12th minute, Saúl Ňíguez hung above the defense and bulleted a header home from a right-wing corner. The stadium of Madrid supporters went wild as Koke gestured to the main stand for more noise and more heart. Then Torres fell over the outstretched leg of Raphaël Varane inside the box earning a penalty shot. The referee, Cuneyt Cakir, pointed to the spot. After an anxious hush Griezmann put the penalty away with just enough power to beat Navas. With 16 minutes gone the tie was going to Atletico who were up for victory with another away goal in mind.
Real Madrid settled down and focused, Modric going for more of the ball and dragging his team back into the game. Real scored, silencing the Calderón with half-time lcoming up. The goal came from a quick Ronaldo throw-in, one of only 26 passes he attempted in the match. The goal was made by some amazing footwork from Karim Benzema by the touchline, as he zigzagged past both center-backs and José Giménez. Isco poked in the rebound after Oblak had saved the goal putting Atletico back where they were at the start of the game, once again needing to score three goals. Real Madrid dominated possession in the start of the second half. Navas produced an amazing double save on 66 minutes. Both teams could have scored again. However it is uptown neighbors Real Madrid who will travel to Cardiff to play Juventus in the Champions League Final clash with an eye on making further history.
Oblak, Gimenez, Savic, Godin, Filipe Luis, Koke, Gabi, Saul Niguez, Carrasco, Griezmann, Torres. Subs: Moya, Tiago, Correa, Lucas Hernandez, Gameiro, Thomas, Gaitan.
Navas, Danilo, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Modric, Isco, Kroos, Bemzema, Ronaldo. Subs: Casilla, Nacho, Rodriguez, Kovacic, Vazquez, Asensio, Morata.
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)
Juventus 2-1 Monaco (agg. 4-1)
Juventus goals: Mario Mandzukic 33, da Silva Dani Alves 44
Monaco goal: Kylian Mbappe-Lottin 69
Italian Serie A titan club Juventus beat French Ligue 1 leaders Monaco 2-1 in their UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg match to reach the final. Mario Manzukic and Dani Alves scored for Juve while Kylian Mbappe scored the only goal for Monaco.
Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Alves, Khedira, Pjanic, Alex Sandro; Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain. Subs: Neto, Lichtsteiner, Benatia, Asamoah, Marchisio, Rincon, Cuadrado
Subasic; Glik, Jemerson, Raggi; Sidibé, Moutinho Bakayoko, Silva, Mendy; Mbappé, Falcao Subs: De Sanctis, Fabinho, Mendy, Diallo, Lemar, Germain, Carrillo
Referee: B Kuipers (Ned) )
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