Today is
Added May 30th, 2016 by Jack

Real Madrid crowned champions of Europe for record 11th time

Real Madrid extended their record European Cup haul by winning the Champions League Final 5-3 in a penalty shootout over cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid at the Stadio San Siro in Milan, Italy on Saturday, May 28th. It was the second time in the past three seasons Real has beaten their fellow Spanish La Liga side in the Final after playing to a 90-minute draw. Real downed Atletico 4-1 in extra time two years ago in Lisbon, Portugal and have now been crowned champions of Europe 11 times. Real reached this year’s Final after beating English Premier League club Manchester City 1-0 on aggregate while Atletico drew 2-2 with German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, but went through on the controversial away-goals rule.

Most bookmakers had Real as the close favourites to win the match even though Atletico was unbeaten against them in their past eight domestic meetings with five victories and three draws since meeting in the 2014 Champions League Final. The clubs drew 1-1 in league play at Atletico this season in October and Atletico downed Real 1-0 away Bernabeu in February. This was the fourth time the two teams have met clubs in European competition. The first encounter was in the final four of the 1958/59 European Cup with Real winning 2-1 at home and losing 1-0 away. Real then won the replay 2-1 the following week. They didn’t meet again until the 2014 Champions League Final and met once after it in the 2014/15 quarter-final stage with Real advancing with a 1-0 aggregate victory.

Real entered the match with a 1-2 record in European shootouts while Atletico’s was 2-3. Real finished as runners up with 90 points in La Liga this season while Atletico was two points behind them in third place. As for the game itself, Real took the lead in the 15th minute when a free kick by Toni Kroos’ was flicked by Gareth Bale to Sergio Ramos and he made no mistake from close range as he beat goaltender Jan Oblak. However, the goal was arguably offside. Atletico played a defensive style while Real Madrid made the mistake of trying to sit on their lead. Atletico striker Fernando Torres was pulled down by Pepe in the 18-yard box early in the second half and awarded a penalty, but Antoine Griezmann slammed the spot kick off the crossbar.

Atletico eventually leveled the game in the 79th minute courtesy of Yannick Carrasco shot high into the net. Oblak was forced to make several saves in the first 90 minutes, but neither keeper had much to do in the 30 minutes of extra time. When it went to the shootout, each of the first seven penalties were successful until Juanfran of Atletico hit the post which meant Real was ahead 4-3. Cristiano Ronaldo, the all-time leading scorer in the Champions League then scored to put Real ahead 5-3 and it was all over. Atletico has now lost all three European Cup Finals they’ve been in. This was the eighth time a Champions League went to extra-time and the seventh time it was decided by a shootout. Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane becomes the first French manager to hoist the Champions League trophy.

Real Madrid was playing with fire by leaving Ronaldo to shoot fifth in the shootout though as he wouldn’t get the chance to shoots if a couple of his teammates had missed their penalties. Leaving the all-time Champions League scorer to shoot fifth in a five-penalty shootout may definitely backfire one of these days.

 
Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply