Real Madrid fought back to achieve a 12-year long destiny at the expense of city rivals Atletico Madrid after extra-time in the Lisbon final of the Uefa Champions League on Saturday.
The Madrid giants equalised a 1-goal deficit in injury time to force the season finale at the Estadio Da Luz to extra-time on their way to clinching their tenth European Cup trophy.
Diego Godin opened scoring for the ‘Los Roji Blancos’, who sealed a 1-1 draw against Barcelona last weekend to claim their first La Liga title in 18 years, after Iker Cassillas error.
And when it seemed all over, Spaniard Sergio Ramos came up with the rescue; a well-timed 93rd minute header.
Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo sealed a 4-1 victory for the ‘Los Blancos’, whose previous European triumph came in 2002- when a certain Zinedane Zidane- now assistant coach- was in his prime and Vicente Del Bosque was in the dugout.
The victory means coach Carlo Ancelotti now joins former Liverpool boss Bob Paisley, as the second man to win three Champions League trophy, not to mention a Coppa Italia, a Premier League, and FA Cup, a French League, a Copa del Rey and a Club World Cup which a better still in his kitty.
Simeone’s men came into the match dreaming of their first European success in 40 years, and first had a taste of ill-luck when their impressive marksmam Diego Costa pulled up in the opening 8 minutes.
Without Costa, Atleti leaped ahead on 36 minutes, Godin, fresh from scoring the Spanish league title-winning goal at the Nou Camp, beat an over-ambitious veteran goalkeeper Iker Cassillas to a cross for the opening goal.
Welshman Bale came up with the best chance for an equaliser but missed it in the closing stages of the first-half to let Simeone’s side go into the interval heads high.
Adrian Lopez’s low shot for Atleti’s second in the 56th minute was deflected wide by Real defenders.
World’s most expensive footballer, Bale, then failed to pounce on a rare opening from a Ronaldo lay-off on 73rd minute, only to let his shot skid five yards wide.
The Welshman later evaded Atleti’s defender on the right, but fluffed his shot wide again.
Atletico defended incessantly, while Real piled up-front for the leveler in the closing stages of the game.
The miracle evaded the Spanish champions in regulation time, Ramos ran onto a corner and then guides his thumping header into the bottom corner of goal- Game on Atletico- dreams and reality began contrasting into extra-time.
Ronaldo’s appeal for a penalty on 100 minutes fell on the referee’s deaf ears, after watching his free-kick bump into the wall.
With ten minutes left to a shootout, Argentine midfielder Angel de Maria went on a mazy run down the left and then forces Thibault Courtios into a fine save, only for Bale to rise up and flick the loose ball into the net.
Casillas was almost culpable for another error, when he rushed out to gather a free-kick; failed, but got away with it this time round.
Marcelo drove forward into open space and fired a superb low effort from 20 yards to double Real’s lead on 118th minute.
Gabi then tripped Ronaldo for a penalty, which the Portuguese winger converted for his record seventeenth goal of the Champions League season.
Eleven managers in 12 years, ‘La Decima’ finally arrives the Santiago Bernebeu trophy cabinet under the tutelage of 54-year-old Ancelotti.