This Saturday was the thrilling conclusion to the popular Champions League soccer tournament that has no doubt been on fans minds for months now. Real Madrid faced off against their fellow Spain rivals in an all-out war out on the field for the coveted trophy. The Champions League is when all the best soccer teams in all of Europe fight and see who is the best. The match was expected to be a tense and exciting match. However, no one expected the match to be a fight from the first minute all the way to the final (90th) minute and then over time. In fact, the game was decided by penalty kicks.
Taking place in the San Siro stadium in Milan, there were nearly 72,000 raving fans that roared thunderously throughout the game. The very screams for joy and sadness reverberated and shook the stadium down to the last nail.
Real Madrid, led by first time coach and soccer legend, Zinedine Zidane, faced off against Diego Simione’sAthleticoMadrid squad that was known for their stifling defense. Things started off hot for Real as Spanish defender, Sergio Ramos got an early 15th minute goal past the goalkeeper, Jan Oblak. The game carried on with decent contributions from Real’s Marcelo, Benzema and Gareth Bale.Athletico however failed to get a decent contribution from its strikers. Fernando Torres has an especially bad showing as he was unable to complete any passes.Other Atletico stars such as Juanfran Godin, and Griezmann failed to truly impact the game. Though Griezmanndid come close to scoring but his kick bounced off the bar.
Eventually, near the end of the game in the 79th minute, Atletico strikerYannick Carrasco scored a brilliant equalizerpast goalie KeylorNavas that brought the crowd back to life. When time expired at the end of 95 minutes, the game was still deadlocked at one a piece. Having spent all three substitutions, the coaches barked orders as another 20-minute overtime period was underway. With players collapsing in pain from cramps, exhaustion and injury, the extra period failed to produce a winner. Not to mention there were a fair share of yellow cards (fouls) on both sides.
However, a winner had to be determined so the game went on to a nail-biting penalty shootout. The top five players from both teams lined up to take five kicks and the team with the most kicks in the net would be the winner. Real featured it’s five kick takers, Lucas Vazquez, Marcelo, Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos, and Cristiano Ronaldo. Meanwhile Atletico came out with Antoine Griezmann, Gabi, Saul Niguez, and Juanfran (in that order). Both teams nailed kick after kick as fans sat in their seats in fear and anticipation. After a flawless display by the first three kickers, Juanfran, the fourth taker, failed to hit the mark. As soon as he missed the penalty, the crowd roared in cheers and tears because till that point each kick taken by Real was a direct hit. Atletico fans knew that for the game to be won, the last and final kick taker for Real Madrid had to miss the kick. Then, Cristiano Ronaldo, the runner up for player of the year award, stepped up to the spot. It was then that fans knew that the game was over. Even before Ronaldo fired a magical, curling shot into the net, they knew it was over. Amidst the surging fans and defeated forms of Atletico players, Ronaldo shone as bright as the silver trophy they had fought so hard for. They had won the Champions League.