After a game fraught with tension and hostility, Real Madrid has moved on after a heroic late game goal from Chicharito in the 88th minute.
Despite an unsatisfactory scoreless draw at home, in the first leg, Atlético Madrid came into the game confident in their ability to continue on with their recent success. They hope to exploit the injury woes that Real Madrid is facing.
Gareth Bale left the game saturday against Málaga after just five minutes of play. On monday, Real Madrid issued a statement saying Bale had been diagnosed with a “muscular injury in his left calf” and would have to watch the second leg of the UCL quarterfinal from the stands. ESPN reported that Real could be missing the Welsh forward for up to three weeks.
Croatian midfielder Luka Modric sustained a knee ligament strain on saturday as well, causing him to miss this match and up to six weeks, which ESPN says “Carlo Ancelotti is responsible for.” French striker Karim Benzema was also missing after a knee injury sidelined him for the match again Málaga. Brazilian defender Marcelo was suspended after receiving two yellow cards.
Benzema’s replacement (Chicharito) brought speed, agility, and a much needed sense of urgency throughout the match for Real Madrid. The Mexican striker scored after a beautiful one-two between James Rodriguez and Cristiano Ronaldo before the latter put it on a platter for the Manchester United striker to tap it in.
The turning point in this match was the second yellow card on a ridiculous challenge by Atlético’s Turkish midfielder, Arda Turan, in the 76th minute. Up to that point, this match was closely fought and there were few chances to be had for either team.
This game looked headed for extra time before the red card for Turan. This gave Real a sense of belief that they could advance past Atlético in regulation and caused them to push even harder for that goal.
Real deserved this win as they dominated throughout with 23 shots to just 6 from Atlético. They dominated the possession game as well, with 63 percent, despite changes in formation, including having usual center back Sergio Ramos as a midfielder. Ramos enjoyed this freedom, as he was able to move farther up the pitch and in turn create more chances.
Real Madrid will move on to face either Bayern Munich, Juventus, or FC Barcelona. Each of these match-ups will be star studded and highly anticipated.
[Image Source: Clive Rose/Getty Images]