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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid: Five talking points from Champions League semi-final second leg

From Karim Benzema's brilliance to Keylor Navas' double save - five talking points from the Madrid derby in the Champions League semifinals.

Written by Natasha Singh | Updated: May 11, 2017 11:51:23 am
Real vs Atletico, Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid, Karim Benzema, Keylor Navas, Isco, Madrid derby, Champions League, UEFA Champions League, Champions League semifinals, Vicente Calderon, football, sports news, Indian Express Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 4-2 on aggregate to set up Champions League final against Juventus. (Source: Reuters)

Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid on Wednesday to set up a mouth-watering Champions League final clash against Juventus. The defending champions slipped in the first 20 minutes as the game slipped out of their hand. Atletico scored twice within the first 16 minutes to send shivers down the visitors. However, Los Blancos changed the momentum of the game back in the 42nd minute when Isco scored an away goal.

Here are five talking points from the thrilling derby –

A rejuvenated Atletico side

After a weak performance in the first leg, Atletico roared from the start of the second leg match as Saul Niguez’s header found the net in the 12th minute itself. Real came into the match with a 3-0 lead but that did not deter the hosts’ passion and desire for a comeback. They sent chills down the Spanish giants Real when Antoine Griezmann converted the penalty in the 16th minute. They created more danger in the first few minutes of the second leg than the entire second leg semifinal match.

Karim Benzema’s brilliant footwork

Karim Benzema displayed amazing skill work as he managed to make an opening past three opposite defenders near the touchline. Benzema’s magic came at a time when Real needed to get out of the danger zone as he set up a pass to Toni Kroos whose strike was stopped by Jan Oblak but Isco found the net in the rebound.

Even manager Zinedine Zidane could not believe how the French striker managed to come out of the corner. He said, “I didn’t know how Benzema managed to come out of the corner. I honestly can’t remember how many players he left behind.”

Isco scores to assert his role in the starting XI

Isco came to Real Madrid’s rescue with the vital away goal they needed after being down 2-0. The Spanish footballer inspired Los Blancos and put his side in the driving seat. Isco, who joined Real in 2013, has performed consistently this season, getting a chance to start in the absence of Karim Benzema, who is out with injury. He has also led Real when Zidane chose to rest all his key players for crucial fixtures. His performance has proven that the 25-year-old deserves to be a permanent starter in the team.

Keylor Navas double save

Keylor Navas missed the penalty that put the visitors in a danger spot. However, he made amends with two brilliant back to back saves to deny Atletico. Yannick Carrasco fought through the Real defense but his shot is saved by the Costa Rican goalkeeper, who is quick enough to save another attack on a rebound as he pushed away Kevin Gameiro’s header.

Atletico’s last European game at Vicente Calderon

This was the last European game for the team at Vicente Calderon as Atletico plans to move stadiums. The fans ensured that it will be a game to be remembered as Diego Simeone kept them charged up to create a fantastic atmosphere. The match ended in rain and lightening as the commentator said, “The heavens have spoken.”

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