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July 22, 2014

UEFA champions league

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Real Madrid clinches record 10th title

Real Madrid team pose with the Champion League trophy after winning the title.

Beats Atlético 4-1 in extra time in Spanish final

Real Madrid came back from the dead to write another glorious chapter in its history when it beat Atlético Madrid 4-1 in extra time helped by goals from Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo to win a 10th European Cup.

LISBON, Portugal — Real Madrid broke down Atlético Madrid’s resistance in extra time to win the Champions League final 4-1 yesterday and finally deliver the club’s record 10th European title.

Real struck three times in the second period of extra time, through Gareth Bale’s header in the 110th minute, Marcelo’s shot in the 118th and Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty at the end.

It was an unfairly lopsided score after Atlético was on the brink of victory in regulation time, before Sergio Ramos headed in an equalizer for Real in the third minute of stoppage time.

Diego Godín had put Atlético ahead when his 36th-minute header looped into a Real goal left vacant by captain and veteran goalkeeper Iker Casillas’ reckless rush out.

Atlético — which had to substitute striker Diego Costa early in the first half — then simply wore out in extra time as the team failed to follow up on the Spanish league title it secured last weekend.

Had Atlético held on for its first European title, Ronaldo and Bale would have shared the blame for a series of missed chances in the 90 minutes.

Instead, the star forwards — both signed for world-record transfer fees — added to their storied club’s illustrious history in club football’s most prestigious competition.

“I’ve learned from past experiences to keep going, to forget about the chances you miss and keep persevering,” Bale said. “The celebrations of the crowd meant everything to me.”

Real coach Carlo Ancelotti also ties the record with three European Cup victories as a coach, after winning in 2003 and 2007 with AC Milan. The Italian becomes the fifth coach to win with two different clubs.

“The hardest thing was to tie the game because it was so tough for us at that point,” Ancelotti said. “They suffocated the space and were doing it so well. The goal gave us strength.”

Casillas also won his third Champions League title, being the only player remaining from the club’s previous 2000 and 2002 victories.

After Ramos’ goal made up for his own mistake, Casillas ran deep into Atlético’s half to share a long celebratory hug with Marcelo.

Bale’s decisive goal sparked wilder celebrations, while Ronaldo pulled off his shirt before provoking tempers with a muscle-flexing pose after scoring his penalty — extending his record for a Champions League season to 17 goals.

Atlético coach Diego Simeone came on the pitch for a second time in extra time in the final minutes and confronted Real defender Raphael Varane. He had to be restrained by his own staff and was sent to the stands.

For pulling off his shirt, Ronaldo earned one of 12 yellow cards shown by referee Björn Kuipers of the Netherlands in an often physical match. Ronaldo and Bale were both sent tumbling by tough tackles within three minutes, but it was Atlético’s 36-goal forward Costa who had to quit early.

Four minutes after Bale wasted Real’s best early chance, scooping a left-foot shot wide from 12 metres, Godín made Real pay.

Casillas charged from his line when Juanfrán lifted a high ball toward the penalty spot, and was stranded when Godín rose to loop a header toward the empty goal. The ball crossed the goal line before the veteran ‘keeper could swipe it away.

In a second half of increasingly hectic Real attacks, Ronaldo tested Thibaut Courtois with a curling free kick but was off target with a pair of headers.

Bale was guilty of a series of miscued shots with the outside of his left boot, and a handball in the Atlético penalty area that added to Real fans’ frustrations.

Atlético was less than two minutes from the title when its tough defensive line was finally breached by Ramos’ sixth goal in seven games, including two in the semifinal against defending champion Bayern Munich.

“It’s the most important goal I’ve ever scored,” Sergio Ramos said. “We made history against a great rival.”

Whoever won, Madrid was never going to miss out on a night of celebrations.

Thousands of Real Madrid fans, chanting “champions!” and clad in their team’s white colours, swarmed onto the streets of the Spanish capital yesterday minutes after their team beat cross-town rivals Atlético in the final of Europe’s elite club competition in Lisbon.

Euphoric fans, who at one point in the game had thought Real’s record-extending 10th Champions League victory was slipping away, flocked to the Cibeles fountain, a central landmark where the team traditionally mark their successes — less than 1km away from Atlético’s usual celebration spot.

The Real team was expected to arrive back with the trophy last night.

AP, Reuters

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