Jose Mourinho - 'the semi-final one': Spanish press revel after Atletico Madrid set up final against Real Madrid
Atletico's 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge set up the first same-city final in Champions League history
Thursday 01 May 2014
Madrid is a city well accustomed to late night ‘fiestas’ but it will enter new territory over the next three weeks as the Spanish capital gears up for an historic Champions League final between its two biggest clubs in Lisbon.
Atletico Madrid’s 3-1 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night came just 24 hours after Real Madrid shocked holders Bayern Munich 4-0 in Germany to set-up an all-Madrid final at Benfica’s Estádio da Luz on Saturday, May 24. It will be the first time in the competition’s history that two clubs from the same city have met to compete for European football’s most coveted team prize.
"La capital de Europa", said Madrid-based sports paper Marca. "For the first time the final game will be played between two teams from the same city". It continued: "Lisbon will crown one of ours on May 24.” All roads from the Spanish capital will lead to the Portuguese capital next month. Thousands of Madrileños will make the 390 mile trip west to Lisbon, which last hosted a final of the European Cup in 1967 when Celtic beat Inter Milan 2-1 at the Estádio Nacional. Will the last person to leave the city please switch off the lights.
On Tuesday night Real Madrid fans gathered at the famous Cibeles fountain in the centre of the city to celebrate Los Blancos’ victory over Munich and on Wednesday night Atleti fans followed suit, only at their own personal fountain of celebration less than a mile away at the fountain of Neptuno. Over 2,000 red and white-clad fans gathered to celebrate their place in the final for the first time in 40 years.
Diego Simeone’s side have enjoyed one of their greatest ever campaigns so far with a place at the top of La Liga with just three games to go and a flight to Lisbon to compete for their first European Cup since 1974, where they lost in the final against Bayern Munich. "The start of an era’"commented Marca, while sports daily AS plastered its front page with "From Madrid to heaven" along with a photo of Atleti’s victorious players celebrating with their joyous supporters.
El Mundo went into somewhat graphic detail to describe Atleti’s win, coming from a Fernando Torres goal down to eventually ease to a 3-1 win in London thanks to goals from Adrian, Diego Costa and Arda Turan. "Atletico finished the match dancing on the corpse of Chelsea, crouched over on the kerb, trampled over by an uncommon collective, mad with itself and with its football."
Jose Mourinho and Diego Simeone during Chelsea v Atletico Madrid
As with the praise for Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti in Wednesday’s papers, Atleti’s boss Diego ‘Cholo’ Simeone was the centre of most of the praise from the Spanish press. AS praised the Argentine for creating a "masterpiece" and for "winning the tactical battle against Mourinho". Not content at praising Simeone, Marca also enjoyed a dig at Mourinho, who guided Real Madrid to three successive semi-finals during his time at the Bernabeu. "Mourinho, ‘The Semifinal One'’’.
Simeone secured a ten-out-of-ten performance from Marca in its match ratings and all eleven Atleti players that started the match were handed at least a nine-out-of-ten. Marca’s star was Koke. "It’s wonderful to see, at 22 years old, that he asks for the ball and drives forward at will". Former Chelsea man Tiago also received high praise, with Marca saying he was “good with the ball and strong without it.”
Los Colchoneros’ long wait of 40 years to reach another final was highlighted throughout the Spanish press just a day after they the focus was on Los Blancos’ search for ‘La Decima’ and a first final since they last won it in 2002 thanks to a 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden Park. La Liga’s title race may be as close as ever with Atleti being chased by Real and Barca for domestic glory but one eye will be firmly on Lisbon in the newspapers with the knowledge that whatever happens at the Estádio da Luz, one half of the Spanish capital will be celebrating.
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