UEFA Champions League
Allianz-Arena, Munich, Germany
34′ Müller Penalty saved
84′ Torres Penalty saved
Atlético Madrid progressed into the Final of the UEFA Champions League after beating Bayern Munich on away goals. Despite losing 2-1 to Bayern on the night, the Spaniards held on for a 2-2 draw on aggregate thanks to Antoine Griezmann’s second-half strike, which gave Diego Simeone’s side the advantage.
The Frenchman’s second-half strike was the Rojiblancos’ equaliser at one point after Xabi Alonso put the Bavarians ahead with a deflected first-half freekick before Thomas Müller had a penalty saved soon after. Robert Lewandowski had levelled the tie on aggregate after Griezmann’s strike before Fernando Torres had a late controversial second-half penalty saved.
The hosts went close to levelling the tie in the 11th minute when a Douglas Costa cross was met by Lewandowski but he could only head off-target under pressure from Juanfran.
Three minutes later the visitors went close when Griezmann found Gabi whose first-time strike produced a fine diving save from Manuel Neuer.
In the 19th minute the hosts had a great chance to level the tie when Jérôme Boateng found Müller in space, but instead of going for goal, he elected to find Lewandowski whose effort was blocked by the feet of Jan Oblak from a tight-angle. Four minutes later they went close again. After Atlético cleared a corner the ball fell to Franck Ribéry whose swerving effort forced Oblak into a good save before Lewandowski fired over on the follow-up.
On the half-hour mark the hosts finally got the breakthrough. An Alonso freekick deflected off José Giménez to wrongfoot keeper Oblak and give the Bavarians the lead on the night and level the scores on aggregate.
Soon after, the complexion of the tie was turned on its head when the hosts were awarded a penalty after Giménez was penalised for a foul on Javi Martínez from a corner. Given that there’s usually a lot of scuffling during set-pieces, it came as a shock to many that the referee pointed to the spot and Müller had the perfect opportunity to give the Bavarians the lead in the tie. The Germany international stuttered in the run-up before seeing his resulting spot-kick saved by Oblak, who guessed right to palm the effort away.
The visitors began the second-half in the ascendancy and went ahead in the tie again thanks to a swift counter-attack. In the 54th minute, Griezmann exchanged a nice give-and-go with Torres who played the Frenchman through on-goal after the former Real Sociedad winger timed his run to perfection and he slotted home beating Neuer at his near-post. The goal meant that the hosts now needed two goals without reply.
Five minutes later the Rojiblancos went close to a second when Filipe Luís found Juanfran who fired just wide.
In the 69th minute the visitors went close to pulling a goal back when Arturo Vidal found Lewandowski after exchanging a nice one-two, but the latter’s effort on the volley lacked conviction and Oblak made a comfortable save. However five minutes later, the Polish international did manage to beat Oblak. David Alaba’s cross was nodded back across goal by Vidal into the path of Lewandowski who couldn’t miss and the former Borussia Dortmund striker headed home to level the scores on aggregate, but his side still needed another due to Atlético’s away goal.
The visitors were in desperate need of another goal which would see them through and they went close to finding it in the 82nd minute when substitute Kingsley Coman cut inside before he unleashed an effort that was saved well by Oblak.
Two minutes later the visitors had the ideal opportunity to capitalise on their opposition’s missed opportunities when Torres was bundled over by Martínez outside the area, however the referee misjudged the incident and deemed the foul to be inside and awarded a penalty for the Rojiblancos.
However justice was served as Torres, like Müller before him, had his effort saved. In almost identical circumstances, Neuer guessed correctly, diving to his right to keep Bayern in the tie.
In the 87th minute the hosts almost made Torres rue his miss. Torres cleared a corner into the path of Alaba whose deflected effort forced Oblak into a fine save with the Atlético keeper reacting quickest to palm the ball away.
Despite some late pressure from the hosts, the Rojiblancos defended resolutely and held on to book their place in the Champions League Final as a result of Griezmann’s away goal.
The result meant that Atlético reached the Champions League Final for the second time in three years whilst Bayern bowed out in the Semi-final for the third consecutive season under departing manager Pep Guardiola.