Real Madrid will play Juventus in the 2017 Champions League final after Zinedine Zidane’s side secured a 4-2 aggregate success over Atletico Madrid following Wednesday’s semi-final second leg at the Vicente Calderon.
Real Madrid recorded a 3-0 victory in the first leg
of their last-four clash at the Bernabeu, and despite
the best efforts of Atletico – who won 2-1 on the
night – the holders of the competition marched into
Atletico boss Diego Simeone was able to select
Jose Gimenez at right-back after the Uruguay
international returned from injury, while Fernando
Torres was preferred to Kevin Gameiro in the final
third of the field.
As for Real Madrid, Danilo replaced the injured Dani
Carvajal at right-back, while Isco was again given
the position vacated by Gareth Bale , who remained
on the sidelines with a calf problem.
A fast-paced start saw both teams register
attempts in the opening three minutes, but Antoine
Griezmann missed the Real Madrid crossbar with
an effort from distance, before Isco tested the
palms of Jan Oblak with a strike down the other
Atletico had another opportunity in the fifth minute
when Yannick Ferreira Carrasco broke down the
right before picking out Koke with a low cross, but
Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas was on hand
to make a smart save.
Real Madrid then had a super chance of their own
when Casemiro met a deep free kick from Toni
Kroos , and Atletico needed their goalkeeper to pull
off a brilliant reaction save as the end-to-end
period of the match continued.
Atletico’s fast start was with the view to scoring an
early goal at the Calderon, and the breakthrough
arrived in the 12th minute when Saul Niguez rose
highest inside the Real Madrid box to head a Koke
corner past Navas, which cut the aggregate score
to 3-1 inside a noisy stadium.
Atletico refused to allow Real Madrid time to
breathe in the period that followed the opening
goal, and Griezmann incredibly made it 2-0 to the
home side from the penalty spot in the 16th minute
after Raphael Varane was ajudged to have felled
Torres inside the penalty box.
Zidane’s side managed to settle in the 15-minute
period that followed as they took shape of what had
occurred in the early stages, but Atletico were
dangerous when they had the chance to counter-
attack through Carrasco and Griezmann.
Five players were booked in the opening 45 minutes as
the referee was forced to issue cards for dissent,
although clear chances were few and far between
after an incredible start.
Real Madrid were pressing in the final stages of the
first period, however, and the visitors scored a vital
away goal in the 42nd minute when Isco converted
from close range after Oblak had somehow kept out
a powerful strike from Kroos, who had been found
after brilliant work from Karim Benzema in a wide
Atletico boss Simeone resisted the temptation to
make any changes at the interval, despite the fact
that his team needed three goals in the second
period to stand a chance of progressing to the
It was Real Madrid that had the first chance of the
second half in the 48th minute, but Oblak kept out
Ronaldo’s powerful free kick, before Marcelo fired
the rebound over the crossbar.
Griezmann had the opportunity to threaten from a
free kick down the other end three minutes later,
but the France international missed the target
during what was an open start to the second 45
minutes at the Vicente Calderon.
Gameiro and Thomas Partey replaced Torres and
Gimenez in the 57th minute as Simeone made a
double change ahead of the final 30 minutes, but it
was Real Madrid that were looking the team more
likely to score the game’s fourth goal, with Ronaldo
coming close just before the hour with a low strike.
Atletico had two glorious chances in the 66th
minute when Carrasco broke into the Real Madrid
box before feeding the ball towards the bottom
corner, but Navas made a brilliant save, before
jumping up to keep out Gameiro’s header.
Ronaldo had the ball in the back of the Atletico net
in the 70th minute, but the offside flag was raised,
despite replays showing that the number seven
might have been just level with Godin in the
Benzema was next to come close for Real Madrid
in the 73rd minute after meeting a sweeping cross
from Marcelo, but the Frenchman could only hit the
side-netting, before both managers looked to their
bench – Angel Correa entering in Atletico’s third
change, and Marco Asensio and Lucas Vasquez
replacing Benzema and Casemiro for the visitors.
Gameiro had a super chance to register for Atletico
10 minutes from time, but the Frenchman turned
Correa’s low cross wide of the post, and 2-1 was
how it finished on the night as Atletico won the
battle but lost the war in their final European game
at the Vicente Calderon.
Real Madrid will take on Juventus in the 2017
Champions League final on June 3, with the Spanish
giants attempting to become the first team in the
modern era to successfully defend the trophy.
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