Real Madrid pulled off the ultimate escape last night, beating their cross-city rivals Atletico with just a couple of minutes to spare.
David Cullinane looks at five talking points from the game.
5. Pepe In Midfield?
Thankfully for Real fans this wasn’t the case but until the teams arrived out and Sergio Ramos, along with all of his imperialness, graced the central midfield role there were question marks. A harsh decision when one considers the existing midfielders who were left out, such as Sami Khedira and Asier Illarramendi. This clearly shows a lack of faith from Carlo Ancelotti concerning their ability to do a job in such a big game.
4. That First Half…
It was effectively a throwback to last Tuesday’s game. Atleti defending in lines, frustrating Real and generally leaving Ancelotti’s men dominate the ball. Not surprisingly, the grudge match that was last week’s game continued, to create a first half of entertainment for the tactical fan.
3. The Red Card
Almost inevitable when Arda Turan gets a yellow in a big game, as a player who leaves nothing on the pitch. A fairly poor second tackle was always going to result in the Turkish international walking to the dressing room. It was also, effectively, the turning point in the game.
2. Le Petit Pois
Javier Hernandez’s strike was the goal that defined this game. A Cristiano Ronaldo assist gave Chichirito a tap in to take Real closer to an 11th Champions League title and the chance to be the first team to retain the UCL. From what has been an up and down season for the player on loan from Manchester United, this may raise some eyebrows at Old Trafford.
Whoever meets Los Blancos in the semi will find it tough. Real dominated Atleti to a point where it always looked like they would lose. Juventus, Bayern Munich and Barcelona are all superb but if Real could get anyone they would choose the men from Turin.
David Cullinane, Pundit Arena