A Tale of Two Lucky Wins Make it an all-Madrid UEFA Champions League Final in Milan

If it was an away-goal advantage for Atletico Madrid in the first of the two second-leg semifinals on May 3, Real Madrid found the winning goal in the other semifinal from a chance deflection on May 4. Playing at home, Bayern Munich looked certain of going into the UEFA Champions League final after three consecutive semifinal losses but Antoine Griezmann’s second-half goal afforded Atletic the edge on the away-goal rule. At Santiago Bernabeu on the next day, Real Madrid also couldn’t find any goals from a direct strike. And if they could reach the final, it was through a lucky deflection by Fernando, when Gareth Bale attempted a cross. The two Madrid teams will play a repeat of the 2014 UEFA League Championship final in Milan on May 28.

Atletico goalkeeper Jam Obak was a livewire throughout the match. In the first 15 minutes, Bayern attempted many shots on the goal but Atletico defense and Obak denied them. Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski both looked in ominous form but couldn’t find the goal early on. Obak showed a sign of nervousness, when he fumbled with Franck Ribery’s swinging 30-meter shot but quickly recovered to pressurize Lewandowski, whose rebound flew over the crossbar. Bayern finally found the goal in the 31st minute through Xabi Alonso’s free-kick that deflected off Jose Maria Gimenez in the Atletico wall. The wrong-footed Oblak didn’t have chance. Three minutes later, Bayern came on the verge of taking a 2-0 lead, when they earned a spot-kick. Gimenez had wrongly fouled Javi Martinez but Thomas Muller’s penalty was brilliantly saved by Obak.

UEFA Champions League Final madridEven after halftime, Bayern kept attacking but in a flash they were paid back by Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann. Koke’s long pass was sweetly controlled by Griezmann, who headed to Torres and ran ahead with the return ball to slot neatly past Manuel Neuer. That priceless goal took the aggregate to 2-1 in Atleti’s favor. However with 16 minutes remaining, Bayern forced themselves back into the match, when Alaba’s cross was smartly headed across by Arturo Vidal and Lewandowski didn’t miss the close-range drive. But 2-2 was not enough for Bayern with Atletico holding the away-game advantage. It would have become worse for the home side, when Javi Martinez felled Torres and it resulted in a penalty for Atletico. Though Neurer pushed away the penalty, Bayern still had to cede the final’s spot to Atleti despite a 2-1 match win because the 2-2 aggregate had the away-goal advantage built into it. Despite playing brilliantly, the home side suffered their third straight exit from UEFA Champions League semifinals.

UEFA Champions League FinalNext day, Real Madrid hosted Manchester City for the second semifinal after the 0-0 first leg result, in which City had done well to tighten their defending and since Ronaldo didn’t play, some of their problems were lessened. At Santiago Bernabeu, however, the visitors suffered a setback in the 10th minute, when their captain Vincent Kompany collapsed due to calf injury and had to leave the field. 10 minutes later, Manchester fell behind 0-1 through a fortuitous goal. Gareth Bale ran hard as he always does and when he shot, the ball deflected off Fernando. Joe Hart was caught off-guard as the looping ball flew over him and found the net. Three minutes later, City had a chance to equalize that would also have given them an away-goal advantage but the Nicolas Otamendi header sailed over the bar. In the 36th minute, Sergio Ramos’ close-range shot brought the stadium alive but Ramos was ruled offside to City’s utter relief. A minute before halftime, City had their best chance, when Fernandinho got past Carvajal in front of the goal but his volley struck the outside of the post. After the break, Madrid had several more chances but none could find their marks and the 1-0 result took the hosts to the 2016 final of the UEFA Champions League.

R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.
R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.

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