The Vicente Calderon was bouncing towards the end of the match. Rain started pouring down on the fans and players as the Calderon counted the final minutes of it’s life in Europe. At the time, it looked like Atletico Madrid might be winning their semi-final against cross-town rivals Real Madrid. The situation was anything but.
Atletico needed to score three goals in the last five minutes to set a date with the Old Lady in Cardiff on June 4. It was a nearly impossible task, not just at the time but since the beginning of the match. They started the game with a three-goal deficit they carried over from the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.
If Atletico were unrecognizable in the first leg, they were only too familiar in the second. They never gave Real a chance to provide Cristiano Ronaldo in any possible way. And ensured that they provoked as many fouls as possible in and around the box. A corner then led to a goal in 12th minute, just two minutes more than the time it took Ronaldo to put Real ahead in the first leg. Four minutes later, Fernando Torres, put in the starting line-up by Diego Simeone solely to trouble Sergio Ramos it seems, was brought down in the box and Atletico got the spot-kick. Antoine Griezmann almost messed it up but did the job and suddenly, the Calderon was filled with hope.
Real Madrid, through, were not fazed by the cauldron-like atmosphere that was prevalent in the stadium. Slowly but surely they regained control of the match. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos started spraying the ball to the wider areas from where Isco and Karim Benzema made their in roads. On one such occasion, Benzema ran into three Atletico defenders down on the touchline. It looked like the ball would go out for a corner but instead, Benzema somehow got past all three rolling the ball along the touchline. He then pulled it back to Toni Kroos who took the shot first time. Oblak made an absolute peach of a save to keep it out but Isco turned in the rebound. Atletico needed just one more to level things at that point. After that goal, it was back to square one for them.
The second-half was more about Real exerting the control they regained in the dying minutes of the first half. By the time Atletico started to make more chances to score, it was already too much of a task. Griezmann, Carrasco and Gameiro all had good glances on goal but Keylor Navas was steadfast between the sticks. In the end, with the rain pouring down, the Atletico shoulders drooped and Real hands went up in the air as the referee blew the whistle and marked Los Blancos’ return to the Champions League final.