24 May 2014

REAL MADRID 4 (Ramos 93, Bale 110, Marcelo 118, Ronaldo 120 Pen)

Bale raced onto a Thiago hospital pass, dribbled by two defenders but dragged his shot wide of the left post. Five minutes later Casillas, who I have said for years is awful on crosses, came off his line for a corner and froze leaving Godin to head into an empty net. Surprisingly it was after the introduction of Marcelo on the hour mark, who along with Di Maria on the left flank, turned the tide as Atletico wilted and began to look every bit the ordinary team they really are. Bale missed two more chances, dragging a shot wide of the right post from Ronaldo's first time centre then blowing probably an even better chance as Ronaldo played him in space down the left but having lost Godin as he ran into the box he toe poke hit the side netting. Real Madrid possibly should have had a penalty or at the very least an indirect free kick when Juanfran kicked Marcelo in the face when he tried to head a Ronaldo cross. In injury time Modric swung a corner into the box and Ramos' towering header bounced into the bottom left corner.

Atletico were dead on their feet after 70 minutes so extra time was only going to end one way. Bale made amends for playing like a €1 million and not €100 million player when he headed in a rebound after Di Maria has skinned the Atletico defence and forced Courtois into a save. Man of the match (!) Marcelo scored largely thanks to a rare Courtois handling error and Ronaldo put the gloss on a victory with a goal he scarcely deserved after once against choking in a big game after Gabi kicked him.

There's little danger of any club getting near Real Madrid's 10 European Cup wins, regardless of whether this win will lead to an era of dominance (it won't). To put things into perspective the much vaunted Barcelona have only won the cup four times. Ancelotti becomes the second coach after Paisley to win the cup three times which more than compensates for his poor (in comparison) yield in terms of league titles. This is the trophy that matters most and Man City, Bayern, PSG, Juventus and of course Atletico Madrid, all know it.

Attendance : 60,976
Assists : Juanfran, Modric, n/a, n/a, Ronaldo (won pen)