At first it was just a few but very soon everyone joined in, good news travelling fast around Al Macinnis Jersey the Vicente Calderón, all the way from the Allianz Arena in Munich. The scoreboard was almost as swift: Bayern Munich 1-0 Real Madrid flashed up and this stadium, in its 50th and final year, erupted. The noise, loud from the start, rose a level. Then, moments later, it somehow rose again when Antoine Griezmann put Atlético ahead. They were enjoying this: it had been quite a minute.Their city rivals were trailing 1,500km away while they themselves led. Twice in three years Diego Simeone’s side reached the final and both times they were cruelly defeated by Real, the coach describing the weeks after Milan as like “a period of mourning”. At the team hotel Atlético’s fans had waited, fireworks Alex Pietrangelo Jersey colouring the air. “Bring happiness to my heart,” they sang, “the Champions League is our obsession.” How could it not be after what Real did to them? How could they not celebrate their misfortune?Cold revenge would mean meeting them again and slipping in the knife of course, sure, but hearts here might not be able to take that and Arturo Vidal’s opener brought cheer. Plus there was hope that Real could go out and thus be avoided should Atlético get through – and, although it was early, although that feeling was fleeting and Cristiano Ronaldo turned the game round in Germany, Atlético were showing every sign they would. “Let’s go Atléti, let’s go!” the Calderón called.They were already up and running. Fernando Torres, Koke, Yannick Carrasco, Griezmann, Torres, Saúl and Diego Godín all had shots in the opening quarter of an hour. Kasper Schmeichel gestured for the ballboy to slow down; his team needed a break. Atlético were everywhere, possession and momentum theirs. Griezmann, especially, was acquainted with every inch of this pitch. It felt a matter of time until the goal, and on 26 minutes it arrived: Munich first, then Madrid.The move started in the Atlético area: a header clear, a flick from Koke and Griezmann took possession 10 yards inside his own half, racing up the wing, accelerating 40 yards all Chris Bosh Jersey the way to the edge of the Leicester box, where Marc Albrighton bundled him over. It looked outside, but Jonas Eriksson pointed to the spot. Griezmann had done it again. “When a player that talented gives himself so completely, when he works like Antoine, it moves you,” Simeone, below, has said, although the Frenchman admitted Gabi, Koke and the manager sometimes ask him not to drop so deep. “Sometimes I feel my legs and I feel like I can do anything,” he said.Here he had. But it was not just about pace or even work, although there was plenty of that. He dominated the first half, dropping into space, playing and getting others playing, always involved. If this was the game where many predicted both teams ceding possession, Atlético finding it harder to take the initiative, it was not looking that way – although the goal did come on the break.Griezmann was at the heart of the play and the moment of penetration. He was “Di Stefano‑ing”, as some are calling it, playmaker and striker in one. Filipe Luis called him a “genius” this week, “a unique player” who “wins me over more each day”. This was another of those days: afterwards he said his team-mate had been “phenomenal, as always – he is at an extraordinary level”.Endlessly improving Griezmann may be but, if has a failing, it is penalties. In Milan he hit the bar and he had not scored any of his three this season. This time he calmly side-footed to Schmeichel’s right for his 24th goal of the season.It felt as if the tie could be killed but it was not. “It is a good result but it could have been better,” Filipe Luis said. The game was played out in Leicester’s half, often in their area, with home possession reaching 64%, but Atlético shots went awry; there were 16 of them but only four on target. Torres slipped, his effort heading out for a throw and Griezmann’s ball across the six-yard box just evaded the substitute Ángel Correa.For fans, there was disappointment there and with news from Munich, where Bayern missed a penalty and Ronaldo scored twice. Real should be in the semi-final after all. Atlético are not yet, although the King Power Stadium should not freeze them like it did Sevilla and, though the lead is slender, few teams administer that like Atlético. That minute had gone and ultimately the night was only half as good as they hoped – but it might be good enough.Antoine Griezmann was tearing up the pitch at breakneck speed, running into the space that had opened up for him for the first time after Danny Simpson was caught upfield, when Marc Albrighton came charging across and clumsily brought the Frenchman down. It was an obvious foul, yet from the opposite side of the ground to where the incident took place, and Derrick Williams Jersey in the back row of this wonderful stadium’s vertiginous stands, it appeared as though Albrighton’s tackle was made outside the area. That view was confirmed with the aid of television replays, yet Eriksson had pointed to the spot instantly and Griezmann converted.

The Wall

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Added Apr 13 '17, 01:36AM


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