Atletico Madrid advanced to the Champions League final on Tuesday night, as despite defeat to Bayern Munich, they prevailed on away goals.
Antoine Griezmann bagged the all-important goal to stun the hosts, as despite dominating possession as expected, the Bundesliga giants couldn’t secure the result that they needed to seal their place in the final in Milan later this month.
Robert Lewandowski set up a frantic finish after scoring with 15 minutes remaining, but there was no way through as Atleti prepare for their second final in the last three years. Here are four things we learned from the game:
1. Diego Simeone’s tactical genius shines through
The visitors were too defensive in the first half and were coming under sustained pressure. In turn, the Argentine tactician responded with a switch at half-time and it resulted in his side becoming a bigger threat on the counter attack.
Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco’s introduction was a big turning point, while Simeone continued to find a way to deny Bayern for the most part despite the fact that the German side were knocking on the door.
While Pep Guardiola’s style of football might be celebrated as being the best in Europe by some, Simeone has the antidote and ultimately the result is all that matters.
2. Pep Guardiola will leave Germany with big regrets
Although his trophy-laden tenure at Bayern can’t be considered a failure, the fact that the Spaniard was unable to secure a European success will be a red mark against him.
For a perfectionist such as Guardiola, it will be a real irritant for him knowing that he didn’t win a Champions League trophy with the Bavarian outfit as he now looks ahead to his next role with Manchester City.
3. Antoine Griezmann proves his class again
The French international has made the jump up from good to great during his time with Atleti, and it’s no surprise that he’s attracting interest from all around Europe.
With 31 goals in 51 appearances in all competitions so far this season, he’s putting himself on a par with the most illustrious of names in the game today and winning trophies will certainly cement his place alongside them.
4. Jan Oblak the real hero for Atletico
Oblak played a crucial role on Tuesday night, pulling off save after save to deny the likes of Lewandowski, Franck Ribery and David Alaba.
Helpless to stop either goal, he also saved a Thomas Muller penalty and while Simeone and Griezmann amongst others will steal the headlines, Oblak’s influence shouldn’t be underestimated.