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Atletico Madrid Reach Second Second Champions League Final In Three Years

atleti-ucl-finalistsFor the third consecutive season, Pep Guardiola has seen his Bayern Munich knocked out of the Champions League by Spanish opposition. First it was Real Madrid, last season Barcelona, and on Tuesday night Atletico Madrid made it a Spanish trifecta.

Diego Simeone and his players lost 2-1 at the Allianz Arena, but advanced 2-2 on away goals in a thrilling match that had everything; drama, missed penalties and controversy.

Bayern started the game brightly, dominating from the first kick and created a lot of chances with Atletico Madrid looking disorganized. The opening goal came courtesy of a free kick by Xabi Alonso from 20 yards that deflected off Gimenez to beat the inspired Oblak, that levelled the aggregate score, 1-1.

Bayern’s dominance continued and they got the chance to make it two-nil minutes later after Jose Maria Gimenez was at fault again to bring Javi Martinez down in the box, conceding a costly penalty. However, he would have to thank goalkeeper Jan Oblak who made a fine dive to parry Muller’s spot kick whilst also saving the rebound.

The pressure continued and Oblak did well to keep Atleti in the tie until half time where Simone worked his magic. He changed his formation to get Griezmann and Torres more involved and the change paid immediate dividends when Torres got the ball close to the halfway line before setting up Griezmann with a fantastic through ball for the Frenchman to slot home in a one-on-one situation against Manuel Neuer. Replays showed that Griezmann was fractionally offside when Torres made his pass, but the goal stood.

The equalizer meant that Bayern will have to score at least two goals to progress, but they pulled one back in the 74th minute when Alaba made a fantastic cross to the far post and Vidal did well to win the header, setting up Lewandowski to nod the ball into an empty net.

It was 2-1 to Bayern, and all they needed was one more goal.

But then we got the second bad call of the night by referee Cuneyt Cakir, when he gave Atletico a penalty when replays clearly showed that Torres was fouled a yard outside the area. However, justice was served after Manuel Neuer saved Torres’ kick in a similar fashion to Oblak’s in the first half.

Bayern still needed a goal and they attacked Atleti with full force, Alaba almost won it with a shot from outside the area that was deflected by Thomas Partey but was saved superbly by Oblak who was no doubt man of the match.

Atletico Madrid held on until the final whistle to deny Pep Guardiola his first Champions League final with the Bavarians.