The 2015/16 champions league final beckoned on our screens on Saturday evening, with the game serving up a rather interesting match with both sides having a go at each other for 120 minutes. Real Madrid opened the scoring through Sergio Ramos in the first half after Toni Kross free kick was nodded across goal by Bale for Ramos to score. Atletico Madrid missed a penalty early in the second half but atoned for it when substitute Carrasco met a Juanfran cross to level the game, before it went to extra time and then penalties where Juanfran missed the decisive one and Cristiano scored to win the game. Here are 12 things we learnt from the game.
- It served up an entertaining game.
Real Madrid started like a house on fire going real hard at Atletico and should have been ahead in the first ten minutes but Oblak made a stunning save from a Real Madrid set piece from the right hand side, now it became a surprise how Atletico Madrid were struggling from set pieces. It wasn’t until Realmadrid scored from it that Atletico tightened up. With 1-0 up at halftime, Simeone was expected to respond and he did, bringing on Carrasco and it was key as he not only scored the winning goal, he tormented Danilo all night. Both teams had the chances to win the game but it became clear in extra time both teams were waiting for penalties which they got and you can’t blame them. Playing for 120 minutes is just c****.Good game all the way.
- Defence was key
It was no surprise that Atletico had conceded the least amount of goals in Europe all season and Realmadrid were marshalled by Ramos and Pepe at the back so it was more of been cautious, break as fast as possible for Atletico and cautiously commit men forward for Real madrid which was well executed by both teams. Kudos must go to both teams defensive midfielders Gabi of Atletico Madrid who made the most passes and won the most tackles in the game and Casemiro who has been key to Realmadrid’s season.They both read the game well and broke play a number of times.Godin and Savic were also awesome as well as both teams full backs.
- Stop it Pepe!!!
What was Pepe doing? Very laughable play acting. He should probably be doing that in a blockbuster movie where he’d make more money not in a high caliber match. As if that with Felipe Luis wasn’t enough, that with Carrasco was even more laughable. Mark Clattenburg though wasn’t fouled as his expression said it all. Stop it Pepe, u’re bigger than that.
- Cristiano Ronaldo and Griezmann failed to show up.
They were billed to be the star men to dazzle on the night but instead didn’t dazzle on the big stage. Ronaldo has been key for Real Madrid all tournament and had even scored 16 champions league goals by the quarter final stage but failed to score since the semifinals and was even more porous in the final. He made a lot of wrong decisions and was surprisingly very peripheral all game. Same for Griezmann. He has been key for Atletico all season, dazzling in both the quarter finals against Barcelona and semifinals against Bayern Munich and was expected to be key but unfortunately, this will be one game he’d want to easily forget as he even missed a golden opportunity to equalize when presented with a penalty after Torres was fouled but missed and was peripheral all night. Big surprise by their standards.
- Torres and Benzema were even worse
The question is what has happened to these guys. Their display was just pathetic. An opta stat says Torres completed just five passes in 120 minutes!!! Now that is a definition of horrible. Benzema was even as porous and Real Madrid fans probably wouldn’t have forgiven him if they had lost this game as he had a golden opportunity to double their lead, a one on one which he fluffed and minutes later, Atletico equalized. The game like i said was won on defence as both teams attack were porous all night.
- Spare a thought though for Bale and Carrasco
In a game where both teams attack were porous Bale shone and the British people were proud of him. He put in a shift in both attack and defence and had to stand up when fellow superstar Cristiano was having a mare all game. And who is Carrasco? Well, the boy is awesome, he completely took out anybody that came his way in his time on the field. Unfortunately, no other attacker from Atletico stood up to the occasion. Scored the vital equalizer and got what he deserved (a kiss from his model girlfriend) and was pumped up all night. Unlucky to be on the loosing side.
- Juanfran didn’t deserve to loose the crucial penalty
There are players who you just feel for and he was unfortunate to be on the end of an event that will probably torment him for a very long time. He scored the vital penalty to send Atletico to the quarter finals against PSV after the game had ended 0-0 over two legs and was awesome all night, providing the crucial assist for the equalizer. After the game, he went over to the Atletico fans to appologise and deservedly got a standing ovation (now, how many players would do that). He didn’t deserve to be in that position as he had been one of the best players all night. Come back strong lad.
- He stepped up when it mattered most though, he is Cristiano Ronaldo
He had an extremely horrible game but stepped up when it mattered most and it takes balls to do it. Atletico had just missed the fourth penalty and Real Madrid needed to score to win it and who else stepped up but the man who has one of football’s biggest balls. Cristiano Ronaldo. He missed in 2008 when it almost cost Manchester United in 2008 but was fortunately relieved by a Terry miss and a Van Der Sar save from Anelka and seriously, if i was the Real Madrid coach, i wouldn’t have allowed him take it but according to Ronaldo himself, he saw in a dream that he won the winning penalty and told his coach to pencil him down for the fifth which he duly dispatched. Can we now say Ronaldo is a prophet!!! Lol
- Both Keepers were horrible on penalties
What were both keepers doing on penalties? First Keylor Navas was flying like a superman and it wasn’t just about flying but flying the wrong direction until the fourth which he flew the right way but didn’t even save it but the ball hit the bar. Oblak was even worse, stood, probably waiting to see the direction the ball would go and when he decided to fly in the decisive penalty, he flew the wrong way. Don’t keepers go through penalty save routines or the players are getting better on penalty takings? Question for the gods.
- What is Zinedine Zidane shaping up to?
He became the first French man to win the Champions league as a coach (now don’t say that to an Arsenal fan) and has won it as a player, we all knew him as a very great player, one of the greatest players to ever play the round leather game, he was also an assistant to Ancelloti when Real Madrid won it in 2014 and now as a coach. WHAT AN ACHIEVEMENT. The thing about Zidane is, he took over an unhappy team from Benitez who had lost trust among his players and galvanised his players with his ideas which has made his players not only love him, but look up to him as an inspirational figure (who says relationship doesn’t matter). He got his tactics spot on in this game just like he’s always done this season and must be commended for what he has done this season. In my opinion, he should be given a new contract to lead this team and if he continues this way, he might be the greatest player to ever become a successful coach.
- Shoutout to Diego Simeone
Seriously, i just feel for this warrior. His spirit is unheard, unseen anywhere. It’s just painful to knock out Barcelona and Bayern Munich and then loose in the final, a second final in three years to the same opponent and like he noted, he is immensely proud of his players and will consider his future and seriously, there will be nothing to consider because Atletico Madrid will definitely pull all the stops to keep him as he is adored by not just Atletico Madrid fans but also football fans worldwide. He is also not one that complains about refrees or match officials like he said after the match, he congratulated Real Madrid for winning the game and said they were deserved champions, neglecting the fact that the first goal was an offside or the fact that refrees were a bit lenient on fouls on the side. Top man.
- Individual Player score card
Real Madrid – Navas – 6.5 stood up when called upon, Carvajal – 7 was solid till he got off injured in the second half, Pepe – 6.5 stop that play acting man, Marcelo – 7.5 dude was busy all night, Ramos – 8.5 dude is a warrior, deserved man of the match. Kroos – 7 ran the midfield till he got off, Casemiro – 8 he broke up play all night, Modric – 7.5 midfield general was immense, Bale – 7, he tried to influence the game more, Ronaldo – 6, scoring the winning penalty asides, he was horrible, Benzema – 5 Simply put, he was also horrible. Isco – 6, didn’t do as much, Danilo – 6, made some crucial interceptions but was run ragged all night by Carrasco, Vazquez – 6, couldn’t track Carrasco for the equalizer but ran all night.
Atletico Madrid – Oblak – 7 made some crucial saves but was horrible on penalties, Juanfran – 7.5 he was immense all night asides the penalty miss, Godin – 7.5 solid as usual, Savic – 6.5, wasn’t as solid but tried his best, Felipe Luis – 7, solid defensively and wasn’t attackminded as usual, Gabi – 8.5, he was awesome and his penalty though, Classic. Koke – 7.5, worked hard as usual, Saul – 6.5, silent by his standards, Augusto – 6, O.K but had to be sacrificed for a more attack minded player, Griezmann – 6, wasn’t influencial as usual, Torres – 5, winning the penalty asides, he was horrible, Carrasco – 8.5, he was a hand full all night. Thomas – 5.5, dude was horrible, Hernandez – 6, put in a solid shift in make-shift left back after replacing Felipe Luis