Second leg. Real Madrid’s backyard. They had not won a game against their 6-miles-apart city rivals in matches. Their regulars were out injured, one suspended. They needed a miracle. They made their miracle happen and they qualified. Here’s what I learnt:
Atletico Madrid Got It All Wrong
The team was playing to one man’s instructions, Diego Simeone, who got evdry other move completely wrong. His team preferred to watch Real dominate possession, come at them at will and in the end soak up.the pressure, a job they were doing well until they got their hearts broken. Yes they defended well but they rarely attacked (until Madrid scored). He (Simeone) made awkward substitutions and failed to control his players.
One Team Wanted Qualification More
That team was Real Madrid. They were dominant. Handicapped (missing their regulars) but effective. They kept asking questions of the Atletico defense time after time after time. They switcjed play from left to right and back trying to find a way to kill off their opponents on a stage where it mattered the most. They did, after 23 attempts (8 on goal). Not exactly in style but then again, that’s what champions do.
It can be said that the more experienced coach taught his less experienced counterpart a lesson: experience, most times, count. While Simeone was being overly dramatic, as usual, Ancelotti seemed to be calm, as usual too. His BBC channel had been scrambled but he had other ideas. Chicharito and Ramos he picked as his jokers. The former was to sneak up on the A. Madrid defenders regularly, take advantage and play like his former student, Inzaghi. The latter, ironically, was given a free role in which he was simply superb. These two players played pivotal roles: one covering a distance of 11km during the game (the second highest) and the other scoring the all important goal that put them through. So much for being experienced.