Real Madrid’s record 10th European title will be written down as a 4-1 victory over Atletico Madrid. In reality, “La Decima” was a lot harder to come by.
Atletico was minutes away from its first Champions League title Saturday when Sergio Ramos tied it for Real with a header in injury time. Real then broke down Atletico with three goals in the last period of extra time.
“It’s the most important goal I’ve ever scored,” Sergio Ramos said. “We made history against a great rival.”
Gareth Bale broke the tie with a header in the 110th minute, Marcelo scored in the 118th and Cristiano Ronaldo polished off the win with a penalty at the end.
“Madrid was better,” said Atletico coach Diego Simeone, who lost his temper toward the end after failing to complete a La Liga-Champions League title double. “They were able to get out on the break and that hurt our chances.”
Diego Godin put Atletico ahead when his 36th-minute header looped into a Real goal left vacant by goalkeeper Casillas’ rush out.
Atletico — which had to substitute striker Diego Costa early in the first half — simply wore out in extra time, failing to follow up on the Spanish league title it secured last weekend.
Had Atletico held on for its first European title, Ronaldo and Bale would have shared some of the blame for a series of missed chances in the 90 minutes.
Instead, the star forwards added to their storied club’s illustrious history in club soccer’s most prestigious competition.
“I’ve learned from past experiences to keep going, to forget about the chances you miss and keep persevering,” Bale said. “The celebrations of the crowd meant everything to me.”
Real coach Carlo Ancelotti also tied the competition record with three victories as a coach, after winning in 2003 and ’07 with AC Milan. The Italian is the fifth coach to win with two clubs.
“The hardest thing was to tie the game because it was so tough for us at that point,” Ancelotti said. “They suffocated the space and were doing it so well. The goal gave us strength.”
Casillas also won his third Champions League title, following victories in 2000 and ’02.
After Ramos’ goal made up for his own mistake, Casillas ran deep into Atletico’s half to share a long celebratory hug with Marcelo.
Bale’s decisive goal sparked wilder celebrations, while Ronaldo pulled off his shirt before provoking tempers with a muscle-flexing pose after scoring his penalty — extending his record for a Champions League season to 17 goals.
Simeone — known for his fiery temper — came on the pitch for a second time in extra time in the final minutes and confronted Real defender Raphael Varane after he kicked the ball toward the Atletico bench. Simeone had to be restrained by his own staff and was sent to the stands.
“He’s a young player with a bright future, hopefully he learns,” Simeone said.
For pulling off his shirt, Ronaldo earned one of 12 yellow cards shown by referee Bjorn Kuipers of the Netherlands in an often physical match.
The teams took chances by fielding players below full fitness, and a bruising first half tested their readiness and resolve.
Ronaldo and Bale were both sent tumbling by tough tackles within 3 minutes, and Atletico’s Costa was forced out early.
Costa hobbled off after 9 minutes, making it clear that the gamble by coach Diego Simeone to put him in the starting lineup had backfired. Costa also exited last weekend in a 1-1 draw at Barcelona in the Spanish league decider and received a horse placenta treatment on his right hamstring during the week.
Four minutes after Bale wasted Real’s best early chance, scooping a left-foot shot wide from 12 yards, Godin made Real pay.
Casillas charged from his line when Juanfran lifted a high ball toward the penalty spot, and was stranded when Godin rose to loop a header toward the empty goal. The ball crossed the goal line before the goalkeeper could swipe it away.
In a second half of increasingly hectic Real attacks, Ronaldo tested Thibaut Courtois with a curling free kick but was off target with a pair of headers.
Bale was guilty of a series of miscued shots with the outside of his left boot, and a handball in the Atletico penalty area that added to Real fans’ frustrations.
Atletico was less than 2 minutes from the title when its tough defensive line was finally breached on Ramos’ sixth goal in seven games, including two in the semifinal against defending champion Bayern Munich.
(via Yahoo News)