Atlético’s second half blitz leaves Juventus needing something special

Goals from Jose Gimenez and Diego Godín give Madrid side the advantage after first leg

Football star Cristiano Ronaldo has been recorded goading Atlético Madrid after his Juventus side slipped to a 2-0 away defeat against Diego Simeone's side in the Champions League. Video: Reuters

 

Atlético Madrid 2 Juventus 0

Twice Atlético had been denied the breakthrough before they finally got it and then, having waited so long, they did it again. The second leg will decide it all, but with 12 minutes remaining in the first leg, José Maria Giménez scored the goal that put Atlético in a position to travel to Turin with a vital advantage before, four minutes later, his fellow centre-back Diego Godín got the second. Another set-play, another close-range shot, and this place was going wild again.

The Wanda Metropolitano will host this year’s final and, as they sang long and loud, they did so in the hope that maybe their team will be there that night too.

They had thought they had the goal a few minutes before but it, like a first-half penalty, was taken away from them by VAR. Atlético were not to be denied. Two goals in the final minutes of an enthralling game kept the dream alive.

There were only 48 seconds on the clock when Antoine Griezmann hooked a shot wide and within a minute of that Diego Costa was running through the middle, space opening before him. Although his pass was overhit, it was an early announcement: this was not going to be as defensive a game as many anticipated, with two teams lying in wait. Instead it was open and intense. It was tough at times too and mostly direct, the ability in the air impressive, although there was one Atlético move made up of four consecutive backheels. By half-time there had also been 12 shots.

A Ronaldo run earned a free-kick which he hit from a long, long way out, the ball moving and dipping under the bar until Jan Oblak shot out an arm. That save denied Juventus an early lead, only six minutes in, but they did have an early advantage: standing in the wall, Diego Costa was booked for encroaching. That means he will miss the second leg but it did not change the way he played the first. Almost every ball went to him, as if he had a target painted on his chest, and he won almost all of them, turning and dashing at Juventus, his team-mates in pursuit.

At the other end Leonardo Bonucci headed just over, as did Mario Mandzukic soon afterwards, but it was Atlético who came closest to taking the lead. A swift move that started with Rodrigo and went through Thomas and Koke sent Costa racing away on the left. As he headed towards the area Mattia De Sciglio sent him tumbling. The referee pointed to the penalty spot, but the VAR converted that into a free-kick on the edge of he area. With the outside of his foot Griezmann drew a sharp save from Wojciech Szczesny.

Another run brought another chance early in the second half, and this was even better, Griezmann sending Costa dashing clean through, only for him to scuff a dreadful shot wide. Next, a clever ball from Koke released Griezmann behind the Juventus defence, who gently lifted his shot over Szczesny and back off the bar. Costa was withdrawn for Álvaro Morata on the hour. Thomas – who also got a yellow card that means he will miss the second leg – departed soon after, Thomas Lemar coming on. And then Koke made way for Ángel Correa.

The changes were partly forced and there were few other options, but they also represented a shift, two wingers introduced. Atlético, on top and seeing the space before them, were now set up to run at Juventus with even greater determination.

The goal came but then went again. Saúl and Lemar found Filipe Luis to deliver the cross and Morata powered in the header. He celebrated wildly, but Giorgio Chiellini lay on the floor complaining of a push so Zwayer went to the VAR and, for the second time, came back with bad news for Atlético. Good news though followed fast. – Guardian service

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