Uefa Champions League: Atletico Madrid’s route to the final
Making their first appearance in the competition since 2009, Atletico rolled through Group G. Diego Simeone’s side showed their character early by going to Porto, who had knocked them out of the tournament in 2008/09 and 2009/10, and leaving with a 2-1 win. Diego Godin and Arda Turan struck in the second half to cancel out Jackson Martinez’s opener and add another three points to the home win over Zenit St Petersburg, while routine victories home and away to Austria Vienna sealed Atletico’s place in the last 16.
AC Milan 0 Atletico 1
Atletico 4 AC Milan 1 (5-1 on aggregate)
Atletico were paired with the seven-time European Cup winners, and won at the San Siro thanks to a late Diego Costa header. The return leg was far more comfortable as Atleti ripped the Italians apart in Madrid.
Barcelona 1 Atletico 1
Atletico 1 Barcelona 0
Atleti suffered an early blow, versus their Primera Liga title rivals, when Costa was forced off the pitch by a hamstring injury after 30 minutes. His replacement, Diego Ribas, stunned the Nou Camp by smashing in the opening goal from over 40 yards out. Neymar levelled. In the return leg, Koke scored after just five minutes and Atletico outmuscled and outran their opponents.
Atletico 0 Chelsea 0
Chelsea 1 Atletico 3
The English side frustrated Atletico with an ultra-defensive display at the Calderon and looked to be on their way to Lisbon when Fernando Torres broke the deadlock at Stamford Bridge. However, Adrian levelled on the stroke of half time to put Atleti ahead on away goals. Atleti took full charge when Diego Costa converted from the penalty spot after a careless challenge by Samuel Eto’o. Arda Turan killed off any hopes of a Chelsea revival, ramming home the third to put Atletico in the final of the European Cup for the first time in 40 years.
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Published: May 23, 2014 04:00 AM