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UEFA Champions League

Adiós! Atlético, It’s Real Versus Juve



Great thanks to Isco. He was the hero and scorer of the crucial goal, as Real Madrid survived a big scare to book yet another UEFA Champions League final after a tough second leg semi final duel with city rivals, Atlético Madrid.

Real Madrid will attempt to become the first side to defend their UEFA Champions League crown.

Poor Atlético! They started with great determination in the Herculean task of cancelling a three-goal deficit.

They almost did. No team has ever done that, not even a two goal deficit in the semi finals. Atlético were almost rewriting history as almost under 16 minutes, they had pulled two goals back before Isco salvage the game for Real Madrid just before half time.

They now bid farewell to the 2017 competition and also to their age-long home, the Vicente Calderón.


Wednesday night’s return leg encounter of the Champion League has become their last home game at Vicente Calderón. It had been their fortress for years. Atlético have played 142 European games at the Calderón since it opened in 1966, winning 105, drawing 24 and losing just 14.

But their last victory, a 2-1 win over Real Madrid has proved worthless as they crashed out 2-4 on aggregate. From next season, Atlético will play home games at the Metropolitano, 16km away from the Calderón to the north-east of Madrid.

The new arena will hold 67,000 spectators and, unlike its predecessor, will have a roof for those occasional wet Madrid nights. It is in contention to host the 2019 UEFA Champions League final. The Calderón will become flats.

Real Madrid will now face Juventus in the June 3 final match in Cardiff, a repeat of the 1998 episode in which Real Madrid triumphed 1-0.



Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and the country’s most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022.

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