Real Madrid pulled a rabbit out of the hat, courtesy a late, late header from Sergio Ramos, to stay alive in their last Champions League final, before their attacking class shone through against a deflated Atletico Madrid. Zinedine Zidane will hope this Real team of his do not take such a tense route, when the two Madrid rivals meet again in the final of the 2015-16 Champions League.
With Real Madrid boasting of a scary attack, led by Cristiano Ronaldo and assisted by Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale and Atletico Madrid, the team with a defence as solid as the Great Wall of China, expect this game to be tight, with a moment of genius probably deciding the match.
Or, you never know, this Champions League final might just end up being an open one, with an early goal, probably playing a big role in that case.
Here is a prediction of how Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid could pan out:
Atletico Madrid get off to a fast start, much like they did against Bayern Munich, with Antoine Griezmann scoring a sumptuous goal in the seventh minute, a curler with his left foot, from the edge of the box. That goal immediately wakes Real Madrid up and Cristiano Ronaldo is there, two minutes later, forcing a save from Jan Oblak. Real had to wait until the third minute of second half stoppage time to find an equaliser in the last final between the two teams, but this time, the leveller comes much sooner, as Ronaldo takes the ball from the left, cuts inside and takes a shot. The strike is saved by Oblak, but Gareth Bale is there to pounce on the rebound and make it 1-1 on 21 minutes.
This final, expected to be a bit of a chess match, ends up being a lot more open, as Fernando Torres comes close to making it 2-1 at the other end, with a brilliant one-handed save from Keylor Navas denying the former Chelsea and Liverpool striker the glory. The match stays at 1-1, despite a couple more half-chances, at halftime.
Atletico Madid press high at the beginning of the second half, but Real Madrid are ready for them. A long ball to the right finds Bale, who chips a nice cross in quickly which catches the Atletico Madrid defence off guard. Ronaldo takes advantage of that, to power a header home at the far post and make it 2-1 to Real Madrid on 55 minutes. Zidane's men are in the ascendancy now, and Karim Benzema and Luka Modric come close to scoring, with Oblak making a wonderful save and the other hitting the woodwork. However, Atletico threaten a couple of times on the counter, before Griezmann gets his brace in the 73rd minute with a neat finish, off a pass from Saul Niguez.
The match is in the balance now, but Zidane refrains from making a change, even if Ronaldo is battling on with his injury. And that proves to be the right decision as Ronaldo finds space on the left, before firing in a low cross. Diego Godin seems to have the cross under control, but, unfortunately, for the Uruguayan, his clearance hits a Real Madrid player and falls kindly for Benzema, who then squares it for Bale to apply the necessary finish.
With just five minutes to go, Atletico Madrid throw everything at Real, but Ramos and Pepe stay strong as Diego Simeone's men suffer another agonising loss in the Champions League final.