Real Madrid’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez gave fans the thrill of a lifetime with a late goal that allowed Los Blancos to defeat cross-town rivals Atlético Madrid in the UCL quarterfinals.
It was a do or die match for both teams after a lackluster UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg, which ended in a 0-0 draw. Someone had to win to advance to the semifinal, and it didn’t come easily.
As expected by many, the Real Madrid vs. Atlético Madrid match was full of intensity and emotion. It was a replay of last year’s UCL final — which Real also won, earning the much awaited La Décima, their 10th title in a 4-1 victory — but much more dramatic.
Real Madrid was missing some key players, and the rest of the team knew they had to step it up, big. Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Luka Modric were all missing due to injuries while Marcelo was serving a suspension. Bale and Benzema, along with Cristiano Ronaldo, make up one of the deadliest offenses in all of football, but Real Madrid also have one of the deepest benches, and they proved that they can win, if barely, without their big stars.
Whenever Real meet Atléti — known as El Derby — it’s a battle of wills, even if Real is the strongest team, Atlético have been known to spoil the fun for them, and it’s never a walk in the park as one may imagine.
Wednesday was no exception, and after a frustrating 87 minutes of play, as the regulation was about to end, Chicharito found the net and Los Blancos’ fans exploded in jubilation. The photos below show the aftermath of Hernandez’s late goal for Real Madrid and the celebration that ensued.
Chicharito Hernandez could not hide his emotions after propelling Real Madrid to the UCL semifinals once again and broke down in tears, while being treated on the bench after being subbed, Marca reports.
Hernandez told AS, despite having many important goals in his career, the one against Atlético Madrid is the most important at this moment in time.
“Yes, of course it’s the most important because the present is what’s important. I have scored important goals in my career but what counts is now. This gives me confidence.”
“This is a derby match. This belongs to everyone. It belongs to all the people. I had to score but it’s for everyone. The people who trusted in me, my team-mates and my family. The goal is for all of them.
“The coach told me a few days ago that I would play. I kept doing what I was doing and I was prepared.”
An elated Real Madrid manager, Carlo Ancelotti, praised Chicharito’s persistence considering he hasn’t seen a lot of playing time this season, according to Sky Sports.
“He played really well, with a lot of intensity. He deserved it because he hasn’t played a lot this season.
“When I told him he would play he was ready. He trained really well, was professional, and I’m happy for him.”
Thanks to Chicarito’s goal, Real Madrid advances to the UEFA Champions League semifinal for the fifth straight season against Juventus.
[Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images Sport]