Atletico Madrid produced an inspired display of counter-attacking football to beat Chelsea 3-1 in the Champions League semifinal second leg on Wednesday and set up an all-Spanish final against city rivals Real.
Goals from Adrian Lopez, a penalty from Diego Costa and the killer third from Arda Turan 18 minutes from time gave Atletico a 3-1 aggregate victory after last week’s goalless draw in Madrid to send them into the final of Europe’s elite competition for the first time since 1974.
Chelsea took the lead after 36 minutes when former Atletico favourite Fernando Torres scored with a deflected shot, but the goal inspired the La Liga leaders who will now meet their neighbours in the first European final in any UEFA competition to feature two clubs from the same city in Lisbon on May 24.
“The truth is the team was brilliant,” Atletico forward Costa said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster Canal Plus. “We have done everything possible to get to the final. Both Real Madrid and us are deserved finalists.”
Atletico knew that if they scored one goal Chelsea needed at least two to win the match in 90 minutes and they did not panic even when they went behind to Torres’s opening strike.
Torres, linked with a move back to his boyhood club after three disappointing seasons at Chelsea, did not celebrate the goal against his former club, but the hosts did not have the chance to celebrate for too long either.
Atletico, set up in a cautious defensive 4-4-2 formation by coach Diego Simeone, counter-attacked with great pace and that adventure paid off when they equalised a minute before halftime.
Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, who also set up his team to defend deeply to cope with Atletico’s swift breaks, watched in amazement as poor defending allowed Atletico to dictate terms throughout the match.