Play TheFantasyFootball on Facebook

From Champions League exit to gunning down the Gunners – Atletico Madrid’s road to the Europa League final

atleti - CROPPED Atletico Madrid celebrate. (source: Getty Images)

Atletico Madrid head to Lyon this week aiming to claim their third Europa League title when they take on Marseille in the final.

Coach Diego Simeone has enjoyed a remarkable European record in his time at the club, guiding his team to a continental final every other season.

After winning this competition in 2012, Simeone oversaw two Champions League final defeats to city rivals Real Madrid in 2014 and 2016.

Two years on from that latest loss, Atleti find themselves preparing for another European showpiece – this time after dropping out of the Champions League following a disappointing group-stage showing.

Here, we take a look back at Atletico Madrid’s route to Lyon.

 

Champions League: Out in the group stage

After being held to a goalless draw at Roma in their opening fixture and following that result with a 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea, Atleti’s trip to Qarabag was a must-win fixture for Simeone’s men. However, the writing was on the wall after they drew 0-0 in Azerbaijan and then had to come from behind to secure a 1-1 result against the same opponents on home soil. A 2-0 win against Roma at the Wanda Metropolitano proved to be the only victory of their Champions League campaign, and they were left to settle for third after a closing 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

 

Last 32: Copenhagen – 5-2 agg

Antoine Griezmann put on a first-leg masterclass in Denmark to put Atleti firmly in control of their last-32 tie with Copenhagen. The France international was involved in three of his side’s four goals in a 4-1 triumph in the opening fixture, scoring one and assisting another two. With progress all but certain, Griezmann stayed on the bench for the second leg, and Kevin Gameiro made the most of his opportunity from the start, scoring the early winner in a 1-0 victory in the Spanish capital.

 

Last 16: Lokomotiv Moscow – 8-1 agg

Another fine opening display set Atleti firmly on the path to the quarter-finals as they took a 3-0 lead in the first leg, Koke giving the scoreline a convincing gloss in the last minute after Saul Niguez and Diego Costa had found the net. And there was to be no fightback from Lokomotiv in Russia, as the Liga side romped ruthlessly to a 5-1 away win – a match that featured what could prove to be Fernando Torres’ last two European goals for the club.

 

Quarter-finals: Sporting CP – 2-1 agg

Koke scored Atletico Madrid’s quickest ever Europa League goal after just 22 seconds in an accomplished 2-0 quarter-final first-leg win over a sloppy Sporting CP, punishing Sebastian Coates’ error to net the opener immediately after kick-off. Jeremy Mathieu’s loose touch then gifted Griezmann Atleti’s second. Jan Oblak took centre stage during the second leg in Lisbon – his mistake allowed Fredy Montero to pull a goal back before the goalkeeper produced two saves from Bryan Ruiz to preserve his side’s advantage.

 

Semi-finals: Arsenal – 2-1 agg

Atleti’s place in the Europa League final was sealed by their last-four victory over Arsenal, who had been hoping to deliver a maiden piece of continental silverware for Arsene Wenger as his 22-year reign in north London drew to a close. Griezmann equalised for 10-man Atleti eight minutes from time in the first leg at Emirates Stadium, with Sime Vrsaljko having been sent off early on and Simeone banished to the stands. With the suspended Simeone again absent from the touchline in Madrid, Diego Costa netted the decisive winner in first-half stoppage time to book the Spanish club’s ticket to Lyon.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

*



TheFantasyFootball on Facebook

Play

Powered by WordPress Popup