After being teased by the football gods that a miraculous comeback might just be possible, Atletico Madrid once again had their dreams snatched away as their eternal nemesis Real Madrid grabbed the away goal they needed to advance into their third Champions League final in four seasons.
The previous two finals, of course, resulted in nail-biting victories over Atletico, who must be wondering what they have to do in order to claim European football’s biggest prize.
But the hard reality is that their awful performance in last week’s first leg at the Bernabeu just left them with too much to do, and even a stunning, swashbuckling start last night wasn’t enough to save them.
Below is how we rated both sets of players, our final verdict and man of the match.
ATLETICO MADRID (4-4-2)
Jan Oblak – 7
Jose Maria Gimenez – 6
Stefan Savic – 7
Diego Godin – 8
Filipe Luis – 6
Yannick Carrasco – 8
Saul Niguez – 7
Gabi (capt) – 6
Koke – 7
Antoine Griezmann – 7
Fernando Torres – 5
Kevin Gameiro for Torres (56′, 6), Thomas Partey for Giminez (57′, 6), Angel Correa for Koke (76′)
Coach: Diego Simeone – Outstanding team performance to restore credibility and self-respect 8/10
REAL MADRID (4-4-2)
Keylor Navas – 7
Danilo – 6
Raphael Varane – 5
Sergio Ramos (capt) – 6
Marcelo – 6
Luka Modric – 8
Casemiro – 6
Toni Kroos – 8
Isco – 8
Cristiano Ronaldo – 5
Karim Benzema – 7
Lucas Vazquez for Casemiro (77′), Marco Asensio for Benzema (77′), Alvaro Morata for Isco (88′)
Coach: Zinedine Zidane – Instilled his team with the self-belief to keep calm at two down 7/10
MAN OF THE MATCH
When Real Madrid needed a goal, their best player in the last few weeks was again the man to –provide it.
And that was by no means Isco’s only contribution, with the Spain international showing all his quality with an occasionally dazzling display. Surely Zidane can’t leave him out now?
A magnificent performance from Atletico Madrid wasn’t enough as Real Madrid just about did enough.
Torrential rainfall in the closing stages provided a symbolic ending to a stormy encounter, which could have been so different if Isco hadn’t scored the away goal which killed the tie just before the break.
Real finished the night celebrating after controlling the midfield for the final hour, but they had been pushed extremely hard and Atletico will only be wondering why they didn’t play like this in the first leg.