Atletico eliminate Bayern to reach Champions League final
Berlin, May 4 (IANS) Bayern Munich worked out a 2-1 win in the return leg but Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to ensure Atletico Madrid’s progression into the UEFA Champions League final.
Despite a 2-1 (2-2 on aggregate) loss on the road, Diego Simeone’s squad advanced into the final for the second time in three years on Tuesday while the German giants crashed out for the third time in a row in the semi-finals against a Spanish team, reports Xinhua.
In light of the 1-0 first leg loss at Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich started highly motivated and took the reins from the kickoff.
The “Bavarians” needed 20 minutes to create the first promising chance against Atletico’s bulwark. But Robert Lewandowski was unable to overcome an on-rushing Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak from close range after a pass from Thomas Mueller.
Pep Guardiola’s side piled on the pressure as Philipp Lahm’s long-range hammer missed the target just wide in the 27th minute.
Bayern’s efforts were rewarded in the 31st minute when Xabi Alonso scored with a deflected free kick to open the scoring.
The hosts even had the chance to double the lead as Atletico’s Jose Maria Gimenez felled Javi Martinez inside the box to cause a penalty in the 34th minute.
Oblak was on guard to deny Mueller’s penalty kick, maintaining the 1-1 on aggregate.
Mueller’s missed penalty proved to be costly as Griezmann flabbergasted the hosts after the restart.
The Frenchman raced clear after a through ball from Fernando Torres to beat Neuer into the near post corner, giving Bayern a task of another two goals to ensure progression.
Bayern kept it bowling and bounced back through Lewandowski, who nodded home Arturo Vidal’s header, to spark hopes after making it 2-1 on the scoreboard with 16 minutes from time.
Moments later, their hopes of a comeback were nearly destroyed as Martinez brought down Torres to cause a penalty in the 84th minute. Neuer kept his teammates in the game as he defused Torres’ shot from the spot.
Despite a lot of pressure, Bayern were unable to score the crucial third goal for their final ticket.
With the result, Atletico Madrid will travel to Milan to face either Manchester City or Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final on May 28.
“I am proud of my team. We played very well in the second half in Madrid and the match here,” Guardiola said.
“They were better, but we scored an away goal, which was important,” Griezmann said.
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