REPORT | 24/05/2014 | Alberto Navarro (Lisboa)The Whites defeated Atlético in a final that went to extra time thanks to a goal from Ramos in the 93rd minute and was decided by goals from Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo.
- Champions League
Real Madrid are the kings of Europe. It has been a 12 year wait, but it was worth every minute. The Whites hoisted La Décima to the Lisbon sky after a thrilling, physical and relentless match that was decided in extra time. If Ancelotti was hoping for a match similar to the one in Munich, he now knows that reality is sometimes stranger than fiction and his men dug immensely deep for him. The team put in a first class performance and their fans were not about to be outdone.
The Whites dominated possession but their opponent had more luck in the first half; more than they deserved for their performance in the first 45 minutes. In fact, before the scrappy move that resulted in Godín's goal, the Whites had two clear chances.
The first fell to Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese player's free-kick in the 28th minute ended up in the hands of Courtois. Four minutes later Bale had the best opportunity, but his shot from the penalty spot after a 30-metre run was wide of its mark.
Real Madrid deserved the first goal, but it was Atlético who got it. The White's defence cleared a corner as far as Juanfran, who headed the ball back into the box. Godín, who was waiting on the penalty spot, caught Casillas off-guard with a glancing header. It was now an uphill struggle, but they still had 45 minutes and the eternal fighting spirit that is synonymous with the club to fight back.
With shouts of “¡Sí se puede!” ("You can do it!"), their fans welcomed the Whites back on the pitch. Real Madrid gave their all to equalise and the first shot on target was theirs. Cristiano Ronaldo fired in another free-kick in the 54th minute and Courtois saw it behind for a corner. Ancelotti risked everything four minutes later by bringing on Marcelo and Isco for Coentrão and Khedira to give them an attacking edge.
Opportunities kept coming for Madrid. Ramos joined the attack in the 62nd minute, and crossed for Cristiano Ronaldo, who flicked the ball just past Benzema at the back post by a number of centimetres. Five minutes later Isco took the ball down in the area but his effort was blocked. The pressure was relentless. Real Madrid were getting closer and closer whilst Atlético dealt with the pressure by any means possible.
Bale, after combining with Cristiano Ronaldo in the box tried after 72 minutes, but his shot was wide. Three minutes later Di María sent in a cross and Varane headed the ball back into the danger zone, but the Portuguese attacker failed to find the net. The Whites deserved to at least be level, and they managed to tie things up at a psychologically important moment. This is what this side does. They never give in. Kuipers had indicated five minutes of added time, and when there were only two remaining, Modric sent in a corner that Ramos, just as he did in Munich, met it with a thunderous header that finally beat Courtois. It was on.
An unforgettable extra time
Ecstasy for the Whites' fans arrived in extra time. After a nervy first half with few occasions for both sides, the second will go down in this club's history. They scored three goals that will always be remembered by Madrid fans and sent them into raptures. Morata recovered the ball in the middle of the pitch, and found Di María, who beat two men and shot. Courtois made a save but the ball went to Bale, who headed into the roof of the net after 110 minutes.
The hard work was done and the Whites closed out the match with a goal from Marcelo from the edge of the box when the clock read 118. Cristiano won a penalty and went on to convert it to top off a Champions League campaign that he finishes with 17 goals, making him the first person to score as many. They could do it. Congratulations champions! La Décima is now a reality.
The leader of the Madrid defence scored the header that forced extra time and sent the side on their way to the Décima.
Relentless all game both in attack and defence. He was the most active player on the pitch all evening and one of his plays created Bale's goal, which completed the comeback.
- Game corresponding to the final of the Champions League played at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica before 60,976 spectators.
- Björn Kuipers (Holland), Sander van Roekel and Erwin Zeinstra were the assistant referees. Cüneyt Çakır was the fourth official, whilst Pol van Boekel and Richard Liesveld were the additional assistants.
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