Real Madrid will attempt to become the first side to successfully defend their UEFA Champions League crown against Juventus on 3 June – but only after surviving an almighty scare.
Atlético required a minor miracle after last week's Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired 3-0 first-leg defeat but amid a sensational opening their prayers looked like being answered. Saúl Ñíguez's header raised hopes and when Antoine Griezmann's mis-hit penalty found the net four minutes later, it was on.
In a semi-final played at frenetic pace, Zinédine Zidane's men slowly found their poise and three minutes before half-time the white half of the Spanish capital breathed a collective sigh of relief as Isco slotted in. It meant Atleti had to score three more; to their credit, they gave it a go.
Yet when Kaylor Navas brilliantly denied substitute Kevin Gameiro midway through the second period, the jig was up. Atlético won on the night, in their last-ever European game at the Vicente Calderón, but it is Real Madrid who march on to the final against Juventus.
Key player: Luka Modrić
Karim Benzema impressed but for cool-headed assurance it is the Croatian who gets the nod. While others threatened to lose their heads Modrić diligently went about his unassuming business. "La tranquilidad", Zidane said recently when asked what the 31-year-old brought to the side. Tonight, he was here, there and everywhere when Madrid needed him most.
What a way to say goodbye!
This was almost certainly Atlético's final UEFA club competition outing at the Calderón (barring a possible play-off should they finish fourth in the Liga). The stage was set for a grand farewell and they did not disappoint. Two goals for the Rojiblancos in the opening 16 minutes raised the atmosphere to fever pitch. In the end the home fans didn't get the result they wanted but they certainly gave the stadium the send-off it deserved – not to mention that elusive victory (on the night) over Madrid in Europe.
Joe Walker (@UEFAcomJoeW)
Where to start? Atlético fought tooth and nail, they gave everything and had us all believing. It was a performance worthy of a goodbye to this grand old ground and despite elimination they showed exactly what they are all about. For Real Madrid, history awaits. Can they be the first team to retain the trophy in the UEFA Champions League era? With just one more goal required for 500 in the competition you wouldn't bet against them.
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