Sometimes sport is wonderful. Other times it is cruel. Often it depends on which side you stand on when the fat lady sings. Odds are based on trends and that history repeats itself. We never know when a miracle will happen, dynasties broken and giants fall. The final of the Champions League in 2016 was a prime example of how small the margins between winning and losing are. A goalpost would prove to decide whether Real Madrid got a new title in the pile or rival Atlético Madrid would win their first.
The 2016 Champions League Final
A columnist in a Swedish newspaper wrote that Real Madrid’s football museum takes 90 minutes to go through if you go fast, Atlético takes only 10. A win in the Champions League for Atlético would probably extend the time by at least 5 minutes. The two teams had faced each other in the finals before, in 2014 during Atlético successful year when they won La Liga. Atlético had the lead well into stoppage time as Real managed to get the equalizer and then win the final. It was also Real who got the best start in the 2016 final: Sergio Ramos scored 1-0 after 15 minutes of play. After the goal the match changed character. Real Madrid pulled back their positions, Atlético had the greater part of ball possession, but failed to create any major goal chances. Notably, Real’s big star, Cristiano Ronaldo, was largely invisible throughout the match. The second half was dramatic. Atlético got awarded a penalty shot, but it hit the crossbar. It seemed that tonight was not their night. However, after Real creating a cavalcade of chances for a short time, Atlético finally managed to score the equalizer on the counterattack, signed Yannick Carrasco. Not logical in any way, but desperate and beautiful. Real were forced to move up the game again, but this match went into extra time.
Ultimately Atlético continued to have a high grade of ball possession against Real’s disciplined defense. The 2×15 minutes of extra time ended with no goal. This event would be decided through penalties.
Real Madrid began penalty shooting. The first seven penalties were entered and Atlético missed their fourth, which hit the goalpost. Goal for Real in the fifth round would mean that they win the title. Then, like a jack in the box, Ronaldo steps forward, scores, and call himself the golden hero after a fairly mediocre effort seen over 120 minutes of play. It might be seen as a team strength anyway; despite the team’s big star does did not deliver Real Madrid found a way to win the game. For Altético, it meant the second final loss in three years, against their archrival. History had repeated itself.