After an intense match, the Galácticos of Real Madrid secured their position in the final of the Champions League, even though they were defeated by 2-1 by local rivals Atletico Madrid. That is because the two Spanish teams had faced each other a week ago, in the first match of the semifinal, when Real won by 3-0.

Pulsating start

This time playing at home with the crowd on their side, Atletico Madrid seemed ready to pay that hat-trick back. The team, coached by Argentine Diego Simeone, scored first, at 11 minutes: midfielder Saul Niguez headed in a loose ball after a precise corner kick by Koke.

The second goal came only four minutes later. Striker Fernando Torres, after being set up, was brought down by Varane inside the box and the referee whistled penalty kick. French striker Antoine Griezmann netted and restored the hopes of Atletico’s fans.

The halt

The crowd went crazy, but Real Madrid took its defeat well and kept the defense tight. Atletico didn’t have another chance to score through the entire first half. More confident, the Galácticoswent on the attack.

At 41 minutes, Benzema made his way down the right side, danced around three defenders, and made a fine pass for Kross, whose low shot was tipped over by goalkeeper Oblak. As the ball rebounded, Isco didn’t lose the opportunity and put it into the net.

Nothing new

Shaken by the setback at the end of the first half, Atletico didn’t do much along the second portion of the game. Both teams had few chances, but, at 68 minutes, the four-time Ballon d’Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo, had a goal ruled out for off-side.

After the final whistle, Real celebrated the qualification for the final to be played against Italian Juventus, in only one match, at the Millennium Stadium, in Cardiff, Wales, on June 3rd.

Three times in four years

So far Real Madrid has been undoubtedly one of the major teams of the decade. That will be the third time out of four years the star-studded squad led by Cristiano Ronaldo will contest the final of UEFA Champions League, considered world’s most important club championship.

Last year, they had beaten the same Atletico Madrid, at the San Siro Stadium, in Milan, Italy, in a penalty shootout.

In 2014, again the contender was Atletico Madrid, this time though at the Luz Stadium, in Lisbon, Portugal, when the Galácticos overcame rivals by 4-1.

Juventus, the next contender, won the right to play the final after beating the amazing Monaco, who reached for the first time a semifinal, for two times, by 2-0 and 2-1. In 2015, “Juve,” as it is called in Italy, lost the final to Lionel Messi’s Barcelona, at the Olympiastadion, in Berlin, Germany.