Atletico Madrid reached its second Champions League final in three years by edging past Bayern Munich on away goals in a pulsating semi-final. Though Bayern defeated Atletico 2-1 yesterday the La Liga team went through on aggregate 2-2 having won the first leg 1-0 at home.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg in Spain, Bayern levelled the tie through Xabi Alonso’s deflected free-kick.
Atletico keeper Jan Oblak saved Thomas Muller’s low penalty, before Antoine Griezmann coolly fired in an equaliser.
Robert Lewandowski’s header set up a tense finish, but Atletico held on after Fernando Torres missed a penalty.
Bayern, backed by a vociferous home crowd, desperately pressed for a third goal that would send them through.
However, they could not find a way past Oblak, who blocked David Alaba’s 20-yard volley in injury time.
Atletico, aiming to be crowned European champions for the first time, will meet Manchester City or Real Madrid in the final on May 28 in Rome.
City faces Atletico’s neighbours at the Santiago Bernabeu today after the teams drew 0-0 in last week’s first leg.
Atletico has lost twice in the final of Europe’s leading club competition – to Bayern in the 1974 European Cup and against neighbours Real two years ago.
Now Los Rojiblancos have another opportunity to lift the trophy, in Milan later this month.
They produced another display of remarkable defiance against the German champions – playing in their fifth successive semi-final – at the Allianz Arena.
Bayern had 33 attempts on goal and 72 per cent of possession – but it still was not enough to beat the gritty Spaniards.
The hallmark of Atletico’s recent success has been their strength in defence, with Diego Simeone’s side developing a reputation as one of the toughest teams in Europe to break down.
However, the quality of their clinical attack should not be overlooked.
Atletico had not even managed a single touch in the Bayern penalty area until Griezmann fired in from the edge of the box.
The France striker marginally beat the Bayern offside trap, latching on to Fernando Torres’ through ball before coolly drilling underneath Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer.