Athletico Madrid – Worthy Winners?
Athletico Madrid have been fantastic throughout this whole campaign. Let’s look at how they won the cup.
Post Comment|0 Liked It
Athletico Madrid entered the competition in the third round against Norwegian side Stromsgodset who they beat 4-1 on aggregate. Their next opponents weren’t much of a challenge either as they beat Vitoria Guimaraes 6-0 over two legs.
The group stage posed a much bigger challenge; or at least it was supposed to. Celtic, Rennes and Udinese were drawn in Group I with Madrid, but the Spanish side performed well winning four, drawing one and losing one to top the table with 13 points. In those six games they only conceded four goals, despite the attacking prowess of their opponents.
They continued their form into the next rounds, winning against Lazio, Beskitas, Hannover and fellow countrymen Valencia. Again, they showed a resolute defence, conceding only six goals in those six matches. What was more impressive was their eye for goal. They scored a whopping 19 goals!
And it was onto the final in Bucharest to play against another impressive attacking team in Athletic Bilbao. The two sides had scored for fun throughout the campaign, many believed it would be Llorente vs Falcao – two deadly strikers.
Athletic Bilbao had beaten sides like Manchester United to get to this stage, while Madrid were on an 11 match winning streak. They also had previous experience of winning the cup, beating Fulham 2-1 only two years ago. Who would come out on top?
From the off, Madrid flew out of the traps, pressing Bilbao into their own half. The young Bilbao side were clearly shaken as they found it hard to play out of their own area. As pressure grew, it was a bit of skill from Athletico’s £35million man Falcao who opened the scoring in the sixth minute; he whipped past a curling shot into the net with his left foot.
Madrid piled on the misery as they continued to attack to find the second goal. It was the Colombian again who found the net for his side. A wonderful turn in the box to wrong foot the defender was enough to give him that extra yard to fire a shot past the keeper.
Bilbao finally settled into the game and began showing some of the attacking ability they’ve become known for. A few chances here and there to find a glimmer of hope, but Athletico’s keeper and defence were stubborn. As they pushed and committed more men forward, they allowed Madrid to counter attack.
Diego struck a sweet left footed shot that snuck just inside the post and the game was dead and buried. The scene of Muniain crying face down on the floor summed up the mood of the players and fans of Athletic; they hadn’t done themselves justice. Llorente failed to get the service he needed so Falcao won the battle between the two.
Athletico Madrid won their second Europa Cup in two years, with their main man Falcao achieving back to back wins after lifting the trophy for Porto last season. Athletico proved worthy winners; a winning streak of 12 matches and Falcao winning the Golden Boot. Champions League winners anyone?