Atletico Madrid has made it into the Champions League final for the second time in three years following a 2-2 aggregate scoreline against Bayern Munich. Atleti went through via the away goal rule after scoring one crucial away goal at the Allianz Arena from striker Antoine Griezmann.
It’s entirely fair to say that Atletico’s victory was all down to Diego Simeone’s tactical masterclass although although, on quite a few occasions the Argentine tactician found it hard to keep his emotions in check as he was a little too involved in the match proceedings.
Simeone’s plethora of involvement in the game spurred up some controversial moments such as when Ribery had to man-handle the Atleti boss to prevent him from coming onto the pitch to express his discontent. But as seen throughout his playing career as well as his venture with Atleti, Simeone’s passion for the beautiful game tends to throw him off the rails more often than not.
But it was an exceptional performance all round from Atletico as they waved off many attacking moves thrown at them by the likes of Arturo Vidal, Franck Ribery, and Robert Lewandowski.
Simeone’s plan to thwart Bayern’s offensive threats involved playing his full-backs in a close position while instructing his wide midfielders to fill in for them.
Atleti sat deep for the most of the nail-biting encounter but despite that they were still able to score the all important goal that sent them straight into the finals.
Bayern broke the deadlock in the first half through a beautifully worked Xabi Alonso free kick which was taken just outside the 18-yard-area although it’s well worth noting that the dead-ball took a deflection of Jose Gimenez before making it’s way into Oblak’s far corner.
Gimenez nearly gifted Bayern a second goal when he gave away a penalty after being involved in a tussle with Lewandowski. But Jan Oblak did well to stop Thomas Muller’s spot-kick from finding it’s way into the back of the net, although most would argue that Muller’s penalty was poorly taken.
Fernando Torres also missed a spot-kick as he fired the ball in a similar fashion as Muller, his penalty was a complete replica of the one taken earlier on in the tie.
Atletico’s chances on the ball were extremely few due to Bayern’s high pressing game, but they were able to get the goal that has booked them a place on the same grand stage that they featured in just a couple of years ago.
As things stand, an all-Spanish final may be on the cards if Real Madrid secure a win against Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu, and it’s looking quite likely considering their recent performances as opposed to Manchester City’s shambolic displays in the Premier League.
But one wouldn’t rule City out just yet as they have a chance of going through to the finals via the away goal rule if they can secure a 1-1 draw or a similar result against the Spanish giants.