The REAL team won by a hair strand!
If there was anything Atletico could have done, should have done Saturday night, it was to be real. To be as real as possible. Despite bossing the middle after going a goal down, getting a penalty (and wasting it) and beig worthy opponents the whole time, they just weren’t real enough.
History doesn’t talk about second bests especially in the Champions League. Only the winners get the trophy. This means all the hard work of Diego Simeones’ men will now be forgotten.
After beating Barcelona and Bayern Munich over two legs to get to the final, fans would have expected they’d be able to finish the job against a team that put them to sword 2 years ago. One would have expected that they revenge and win this time!
The game began at a frantic pace! In the 6th minute the game had the referee sweating like he was one of the players. The characteristics of a final!
Atletico were undeniably jittery in the opening stages with Oblak being forced into a huge save in the 5th minute. Diego Simeone’s men came to play their normal game: being feisty and holding no prisoners in the tackles.
They made a couple of mistakes and allowed players like Modric and Casemiro to enjoy plenty of freedom in the middle of the park while they held on “too tightly” to Ronaldo and Benzema.
Madrid, on the other hand, were slowly trying to get quicker off the mark with Bale and Toni Kroos causing all kinds of problems with their pace and skill.
Then Madrid scored and the psyche of the Atleti boys had to be tested. And they responded well… well enough to boss the other team from Madrid.
Half time was spent thinking about how Real Madrid could turn their possession into goals, who and what will help dominate the most important statistic in football. El Cholo must have been thinking too, the attack needed additional bite.
Carrasco came on and immediately made his presence felt with some slick moves. Torres was felled in the box by Pepe during a slick turn and Griezmann who has been brilliant thus far was just unlucky to hit the cross bar.
Still Atletico dug in and Carrasco provided a good finish after a one-time low cross from Juafran. The game ended in a draw. Atletico couldn’t be separated from Real despite dominating. And you know the rest of the story. One thing led to another thing and there was a heartbreak.
In terms of decision the referee did well, especially foiling Real’s acting tendencies. It wasn’t a good night for star actor Pepe as the referee refused to buy his movie tickets on the night. He should have seen red for acting though.
From my Atletico perspective, one can’t help but wonder: what if that Griezmann penalty had gone in? What if?
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Author: Rotimi “Papi the Great” Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi the Great is the owner of ForTheGoal.
A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio and television to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @papi_thegreat to keep up with his writings, engage him and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.