With Real Madrid holding a 3-0 lead heading into the second leg of the Champions League semi-final, few gave city rivals Atletico Madrid a chance of advancing to this year’s final.
Atletico had other ideas, however, and stunned their derby rivals to take a 2-0 lead within 16 minutes, setting the proverbial cat among the pigeons. But Isco’s goal shortly before halftime after some silky skills from Karim Benzema killed the tie again, and ultimately while Atletico won 2-1 on the night, Real Madrid advanced 4-2 on aggregate.
Here are three things you may have missed from Wednesday’s game…
REAL MADRID’S SEND-OFF PARTY
When Real Madrid’s players left for the game, they had a sizable crowd waiting to send them off.
Their walk to the team bus was lined by young fans waiting to wish their heroes luck ahead of the second leg.
It wasn’t quite the crowd that had shown up to welcome the bus into the Santiago Bernabeu ahead of the first leg, but it was a sight to behold nonetheless.
VICENTE CALDERON BIDS FAREWELL TO EUROPE – AND MADRID DERBIES
With Atletico Madrid moving from the Vicente Calderon at the end of this season, this was the grand old stadium’s final European game.
Of equal, if not more importance, however, was the fact that it would also be the final Madrid derby played at the Calderon.
With that in mind, there was a pointed message for Atletico’s city rivals displayed in the stands: “Proud to not be like you.” Same as ever, then.
ZIDANE, JUVENTUS VS REAL MADRID, AND CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINALS
Zinedine Zidane played for Juventus in the 1998 Champions League Final vs Real Madrid. In the 2017 Final he is the Manager for Real Madrid.— Captain Simon Pirooz (@SimonTheCaptain) May 10, 2017
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has always held Juventus in high esteem after his five years with the Italian club before his then-world-record transfer to Madrid, so this season’s Champions League final will be a special one for the Frenchman.
There’s also his personal history in Champions League finals to consider. Zidane won in his first-ever final as a manager, last year, and also won the only time he made it to the final with Real Madrid, scoring a famous goal in the 2002 showpiece.
In fact, the last time he lost in a Champions League final, he was playing for Juventus – and against Real Madrid. What a quirk of fate it would be if his perfect record with Los Blancos ended at the hands of his old club.