Real Madrid have the unique opportunity of defending their Champions League title in Cardiff come June. It was a case of losing the battle while winning the war as they were completely over run by Atletico’s intensity in the first few minutes. But then, they regained control and slowly, the midfield machinery of Kroos, Modric and Isco started doing what they do best. They were helped by an in form Karim Benzema who pretty much made the first goal out of scratch. They will now play the mighty Juventus in the final of this season’s Champions League in June.
Atletico Madrid 2-1 Real Madrid, Match highlights:
0205 hrs IST: Full time!! Atletico win the second leg, but lose the semi-final 4-2. Real Madrid are through to the Champions League final.
0202 hrs IST: Rain pours down almost metaphorically on the Calderon as it prepares for it’s final three minutes of European action, Griezmann takes a shot and Navas dives to save it.
0159 hrs IST: Final change for Real, the brilliant Isco taken off for Alvaro Morata
0156 hrs IST: Just a reminder, Atletico need to score 3 goals to go through to the finals, 80 minutes have passed. There will be no extra time possible due to Real Madrid’s away goal that they have scored today
0153 hrs IST: Real suddenly looking brittle at the back, as Atletico pull out all stops now. But the sheer amount of goals that the latter need to score means that it is very much advantage Real at the moment.
0150 hrs IST: Correa was suddenly in for Atletico and puts the ball into the area, Gameiro just needed to get a touch to it to turn it into goal but it is cleared and Isco pushed on to create a chance for Real, Ronaldo was seemingly unmarked in the box but Gabi tracks back and clears sensationally.
0148 hrs IST: Change for Real Madrid, Benzema out for Marcos Asensio, Casemiro out for Lucas Vazquez
0146 hrs IST: Marcelo sends a ball across field into the box and Benzema connects with a diving header, the ball hits the side netting.
0142 hrs IST: Real get a corner and it is cleared only to Modric who takes a shot, Ronaldo kicks out at it, it is unclear whether he touches the ball or not but it goes into goal and Ronaldo is called off side. He may not have touched it but it was interfering with play.
0138 hrs IST: Oh what a chance for Atletico!! Yannick Carrasco takes the ball and pushes down the flanks into the box, cuts in past Ramos and takes the shot, it is saved brilliantly by Navas, the rebound comes from Gameiro who heads it and Navas saves again
0135 hrs IST: Yannick Carrasco takes control of the ball in the left-hand side of midfield and cuts it in. It was a good ball but none of the Atletico forwards could get anywhere close to it.
0130 hrs IST: Benzema runs accross the inside channel and gives it to Marcelo on the left side of the box. Marcelo cuts it in to Ronaldo who takes a shot and it is just wide. First real chance for Ronaldo in this match.
0127 hrs IST: Change for Atletico, Fernando Torres brought off for Kevin Gameiro, Gimenez replaced by Thomas.
0122 hrs IST: Real concede a free kick 30 yards away from goal left hand side of the field. Griezmann takes it and goes for goal and the ball whistles over the bar
0119 hrs IST: Right here we go again, Atletico restart the match, need to score at least 3 to go through. Big ask, but who would have expected them to go 2 up in the opening 15 minutes of the first half.
0101 hrs IST; A slight pause to the match as Fernando Torres clatters on to Keylor Navas. He then has a heated argument with a smiling Cristiano Ronaldo. The play restarts and the referee blows for half-time before anything significant happens
0055 hrs IST: GOAL!! Isco gives Real Madrid some breathing space. This was all about Karim Benzema. He somehow wriggles past three defenders right along the touch line and pulls it to Kroos in the box. The German takes the shot that is saved brilliantly by Oblak but the rebound falls straight to Isco who has a rather easy job in the end.
0049 hrs IST: Isco clutters onto Griezmann’s back and its a free-kick to Atletico. Gabi demands more from the ref and is given a yellow card. Both captains brought to the book now
0047 hrs IST: Godin goes for the same ball as Ronaldo and the latter lands on the ground clutching the back of his head, Ramos and co. hound the referee to explain what they think of the situation. Referee gives a warning to Godin and a yellow card to Ramos possibly for the intensity of his remonstration.
0045 hrs IST: Real slowly regaining control of the match after that initial blip. It has to be remembered that even if Atletico score two goals here, Real need to score just one to book a place in Cardiff
0034 hrs IST: Real look a bit shell shocked and who can blame them. Atletico are at their gritty best now as Diego Simeone flies up and down the technical area screaming out instructions
0029 hrs IST: AND SCORES!! Not a good kick, not much flight, not much power, not too far away from Navas either, but somehow does the job. They can’t possibly do this can they?
0028 hrs IST: Torres brought down by Varane and it’s a penalty, Griezmann to take…..
0025 hrs IST: GOAL!! Atletico have nipped one back through Saul. It was a corner that was whipped in, Saul rises above everyone else and powers it in with his head.
0021 hrs IST: A brilliant save by Oblak! Real win a free-kick that is sent into the box from the right, Casemiro heads it to the far post and Oblak dives and gets a hand to it. A frantic start to the match
0015 hrs IST: First real chance there for Atletico, Carracso creeps up the right hand side and whips in a low ball across the touchline, Koke gets his foot to it and Navas saves at the near post.
2354 hrs IST: Team News:
Atletico Madrid: Oblak, Gimenez, Savic, Godin, Filipe Luis, Koke, Gabi, Saul Niguez, Carrasco, Griezmann, Torres Subs: Moya, Tiago, Correa, Lucas Hernandez, Gameiro, Thomas, Gaitan.
Real Madrid: Navas, Danilo, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Modric, Isco, Kroos, Bemzema, Ronaldo. Subs: Casilla, Nacho, Rodriguez, Kovacic, Vazquez, Asensio, Morata.
2345 hrs IST: Hello and welcome to the coverage of the second leg of the Champions League semi-final being played entirely in Madrid. No other city must have been represented in the latter stages of the Champions League as frequently as the Spanish capital has in the past few years.
Diego Simeone has overseen the conversion of Atletico Madrid from being largely a mid-table team in Spain to one of the continental powerhouses. His team has acted as the antithesis to Real and have got the better of their much more affluent cross-town rivals on quite a few occasions. Yet, in the Champions League, where they have met twice in the last three years as finalists, these matches have always ended in heartbreak for Atletico.
It seems those defeats had an effect on Simeone’s side. They were uncharacteristically tacit in their approach to fending off the opposition attack and were anything but clinical in when they got forward. Isco, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos took advantage of the situation and repeatedly fed Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo up front. The latter gobbled up the opportunities with glee.