While the final score of 4-1 will not flatter the La Liga champions, it does nothing to tell the story of the frenetic and exciting 120 minutes of football that were undertaken to reach it.
Atletico dominated the first half of the game and the majority of the second, taking the lead on 36 minutes from a Diego Godin header and held resolute until the penultimate minute of regular time.
As Real Madrid desperately hunted for a goal to take the two sides to Extra Time they were granted their wish through another headed set-piece goal – this time from Sergio Ramos.
The first signs of tension between the two sides emerged after just a quarter of an hour when Gabi and Coentrao had to be separated by their team mates after a coming together.
Tempers flared again 10 minutes later when Real Madrid broke at speed on the counter attack. As Angel Di Maria approached the Atletico penalty area the savvy Raul Garcia crudely brought him down and earned himself a yellow card for his trouble. Ramos followed him swiftly as he made his opinion clear to the Spaniard.
Gareth Bale had Real’s best chance of the half as he swooped in to the box. The Welshman beat three defenders but ultimately scooped his shot wide of the mark.
Los Blancos were left rueing their missed chance with 10 minutes to go until the interval as an outswinging Atletico corner was headed back in to the box by Juanfran Godin managed to rise above the Real defence to bundle the ball over the line.
At the start of the second half Atletico’s dominance was only growing. While chances were thin on the ground for both sides, it was Atletico that piled on the pressure.
The tides began to change as Carlo Ancelotti brought on Isco and Marcelo to replace Khedira and Fabio Coentrao. Bale wasted a host of chances as the night wore on, with the finest coming with just 10 minutes left to play. The record signing charged in to attack Courtois’s box but ultimately all he could do was slot the ball wide of the mark.
As Real were searching for a breakthrough goal, Atletico were desperately attempting to defend their lead. Juanfran, Miranda, Koke and David Villa all picked up yellow cards for cynical fouls as the team in white were mounting decent attacks.
The breakthrough finally came with all but two minutes left on the board. Ramos leapt like a salmon to meet a Luka Modric cross while Courtois, the on-loan Chelsea stopper, could do nothing to reach it. Despite Simeone’s protests extra time beckoned.
Bale finally turned the match in Real’s favour after Di Maria’s surging run and shot gave Bale the chance to loop a header in to the net from 4 yards out. While the goal wasn’t spectacular, the events which it sparked will live long in the memories of both Los Rojiblancos and Los Galacticos.
The result was sealed with two minutes left of Extra Time. Atletico’s defence was at walking pace and the substitute Marcelo just breezed through and slotted the ball beneath the on-rushing Courtois. Cristiano Ronaldo also got his name on the scoresheet a minute later with a penalty. The Portuguese put to bed the bad memories of Euro 2004 with a calmly dispatched kick which was something of a formality in the end.
Atletico Madrid: 13 Courtois, 20 Juanfran, 3 Filipe Luis (Alderweireld 83’), 14 Gabi, 23 Miranda, 2 Godin, 8 Raul Garcia (Sosa 66’), 5 Tiago, 9 Villa, 19 Diego Costa (Adrian 9’), 6 Koke
Subs: 1 Aranzubia, 4 Suarez, 7 Adrian, 11 Rodriguez, 12 Alderweireld, 24 Sosa, 26 Diego
Real Madrid: 1 Casillas, 15 Carvajal, 5 Fabio Coentrao (Marcelo 59’), 6 Khedira (Isco 59’), 2 Varane, 4 Sergio Ramos, 19 Modric, 22 Di Maria, 9 Benzema (Morata), 11 Bale, 7 Ronaldo
Subs: 3 Pepe, 12 Marcelo, 17 Arbeloa, 21 Morata, 23 Isco, 24 Illarramendi, 25 Lopez
Referee: Björn Kuipers (Netherlands)
Venue: Estadio Da Luz – Libson, Portgual