History in making? Atletico land knockout blow to Bayern, reach CL final
Atletico Madrid are not seeking revenge for their 2014 Champions League final defeat but instead want to write a new chapter in the club’s history with their first European Cup after getting past Bayern Munich.Updated: May 04, 2016 07:53 IST
Atletico Madrid are not seeking revenge for their 2014 Champions League final defeat but instead want to write a new chapter in the club’s history with their first European Cup after getting past Bayern Munich.
The Spanish side, who also lost the 1974 European Cup final to Bayern, reached the Champions League final for the second time in three seasons on Tuesday, going through on away goals after a 2-1 defeat at Bayern Munich, in which both sides missed a penalty, with the tie finishing 2-2 on aggregate.
Atletico got to the final two years ago, losing to Real Madrid, who face Manchester City at the Bernabeu in the other semi-final on Wednesday after a goalless first leg.
“We are not out for revenge,” said Atletico striker Fernando Torres, who set up the first goal and missed a late penalty.
“We want to write history. We have not won this trophy and we do not care who it will be, whether Real or Manchester City.”
“It was not about revenge for 1974 tonight nor is the final about revenge. It is a new chance and maybe we can write some memories,” he added.
Bayern took the lead with a Xabi Alonso goal in the 31st minute but Atletico levelled through Antoine Griezmann’s seventh goal of the competition. Robert Lewandowski set up a dramatic finale with his 74th minute goal but it was not enough.
Thomas Mueller missed a first half penalty for Bayern and Atletico’s Fernando Torres had an 85th minute spot kick saved but the final score was enough for Bayern’s third straight elimination by a Spanish team at this stage in their three seasons under Spaniard Pep Guardiola.
Diego Simeone’s Atletico, who can still win La Liga this season, eliminated Champions League holders Barcelona in the last round and their win over Bayern, who were chasing a treble, will further boost their confidence going into the final.
“It was good how we defended. We were disoriented in the first half and we could not find our footing. But we improved after the break and made it difficult for them,” Torres said.
“Then came the goal and that calmed us down. It was very difficult to play this game and we suffered but it is always important to score an away goal.”
Frenchman Antoine Griezmann netted in the 54th minute from a Torres layoff to cancel out Xabi Alonso’s first half opener and force Bayern to look for at least two more goals.
Robert Lewandowski got Bayern’s second in the 74th minute but, despite waves of attacks, they failed to score again.
“The first half saw a tremendous Bayern team with pressure, possession and us showing little response to the situation,” said coach Simeone.
“The second half was more even. We did a super counter-attack for the goal and that allowed us to get that advantage.”
The Argentine was shoed his passion throughout the game, even pushing a fellow club official for not calling for a substitution late in the contest.
“Becoming champions is very nice but very hard. We played with two of the top three teams in the world,” he said. “We have gone through a lot of suffering in Barcelona and here. But we advance to the final with a lot of joy.”
Third time unlucky
Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola was brought to the club to extend their European dominance, but will leave at the end of the season having lost three successive Champions League semi-finals.
An away goals defeat to Atletico Madrid, despite a 2-1 win in Germany on Tuesday, sealed Bayern’s elimination from this season’s competition and ended Guardiola’s hopes of going out on a European high.
The Spaniard arrived at Bayern following their 2013 treble-winning season, but rather than tighten their stranglehold on the continental competition, he has always fallen at the last four, each time against a different Spanish side.
“That is football. You can play better and still be eliminated,” said Guardiola, who will move to Manchester City next season.
“I feel sorry for my players because they deserved the very best.”