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Real Madrid qualified to the finals of the UEFA Champions League on aggregate score, despite losing 2-1 to local rivals Atletico Madrid on the night at the Vicente Calderon.
It was the home team that came out all guns blazing, creating chances from the word go. And the pressure paid dividends as early as the 11th minute, when Saul Niguez headed in from a Koke corner to put Atletico ahead. Five minutes later they would double their lead from Antoine Griezmann’s penalty kick, after Raphael Varane fouled Fernando Torres in the box. But Madrid would deliver the sucker punch late in the first-half when Isco was at hand to hit home from close-range from a rebound.
Things seemed to have petered out at the start of the second period with Real regaining control of the proceedings. Atletico did threaten on a few occasions late in the game, but Zinedine Zidane’s men managed to hold on to qualify.
Real will now face Juventus in the finals of the competition at Cardiff, as they chase the honours of becoming the first team in the history of the Champions League to retain the trophy. Here is how the Real players fared on the night:
Shaky starter. Should have stopped the penalty comfortably, but made a brilliant double save to deny Carrasco and Kevin Gameiro in the second half. Followed it up with two more smart stops to keep Griezmann out.
Booked early and under pressure from thereon. Lost out way too easily against Carrasco leading to a great chance for Atletico in the second period. Poor overall.
Gave away the penalty with a cheap foul. Always under pressure in the opening stages. Caught out of position on a few occasions, but held it together as the game progressed.
Nervy start. Booked for dissent. He too was under the pump from Atletico’s barrage of long balls in the opening 20 minutes, but looked far more composed in the second half.
Left acres spaces at the back which Yannick-Ferreira Carrasco exploited to great effect. But things got a lot easier after Isco’s goals as he charged forward regularly acting as an effective outlet.
Struggled early on. Gave away ball too cheaply, silly fouls in dangerous areas. Improved after the restart, much like the rest of his teammates.
Not able to impose himself on the game. Picked up the baton in the second period. Unlucky to have a goal ruled out due to Cristiano Ronaldo being offside.
Uncharacteristically poor in possession, but it was his shot that Oblak saved leading to Isco’s rebound for the opener. Much better after half-time.
A real livewire, was the brightest Madrid player on the pitch. Always looking to get on the ball and make things happen, everything good for them came through him. Was at hand to bundle home after Kroos’ shot was saved by Oblak. Just brilliant.
Often isolated, but showed his worth, with some magical footwork to hold off and get past three Atleti defenders leading to the goal. Missed a great chance to head the ball home, but excellent with the ball at his feet. An extra point for that amazing trickery leading to the goal.
Beaten to the header by Saul for Atletico’s first. Few long-range speculative efforts. Peripheral most of the times. His marginal offside position cost Modric his goal.
Replaced Casemiro with fifteen minutes to spare. Good energy down the right-flank.
Came on for Benzema in the 76th minute. No impact.
Replaced Isco for the last two minutes.