Ancelotti trumps Simeone to secure Real's 10th title

Sat May 24, 2014 7:13pm EDT
 
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By Iain Rogers

LISBON (Reuters) - Real Madrid overcame Atletico in the Champions League final because coach Carlo Ancelotti was able to adjust his tactics and go on the attack in time to rescue the game while his opposite number Diego Simeone had no cards left to play

Ancelotti fielded a cautious starting lineup at Lisbon's Stadium of Light, with Sami Khedira in a deep-lying central role despite having only recently returned from knee surgery, and Real were outplayed for long periods in the first half.

Atletico deservedly went ahead when Diego Godin outjumped a sluggish-looking Khedira and nodded the ball over a stranded Iker Casillas in the 36th minute and they looked comfortable with their lead well into the second period.

Ancelotti responded with around half an hour remaining by hauling off Khedira and left back Fabio Coentrao and replacing them with attacking midfielder Isco and zippy fullback Marcelo.

The tone of the match changed immediately, with Real pushing forward relentlessly and carving out a number of half-chances and Atletico forced deeper and deeper.

Although Atletico looked like they might hold on and secure their first continental triumph to add to this season's La Liga title, Sergio Ramos leaped to head a superb leveler in the third minute of added time.

The Atletico players were stunned, with several falling to the ground in disbelief, and their fans packed into one end of the stadium fell eerily silent as extra time loomed.

Ancelotti's Atletico counterpart Simeone had been forced to use the first of his three substitutes as early as the ninth minute when Diego Costa limped off and was replaced by Adrian.   Continued...

 
Real Madrid's coach Carlo Ancelotti holds the trophy after defeating Atletico Madrid in their Champions League final soccer match at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon, May 24, 2014.       REUTERS/Michael Dalder