Real Madrid 1 Atletico Madrid 2: Lessons as Simeone’s men triumph
Real Madrid 1 Atletico Madrid 2: What lessons did we learn as Diego Simeone's men win the final after extra-time drama?
14 years and 25 games of hurt end as Atletico topple Real to win the Cup
That’s how long Atletico supporters have waited to see the day when their underdogs finally won against rivals Real and it must have felt as though all the waiting was worthwhile after winning their 10th King’s Cup at the Bernabeu. Just weeks ago Atletico were defeated by under-strength Real Madrid side preparing for Champions League action but they erased all the painful memories from the past decade-and-a-half to claim their first win over Real this century. Atletico showed guts and spirit despite being dominated for long periods and endured torrid spells of Real Madrid chances before finally seeing victory through after almost 130 minutes of play. In a season dominated by Atletico’s failure to take advantage of Real’s woeful league form which saw them concede second spot in the league, it is Diego Simeone’s men who have the last laugh over their bitter rivals.
A victim of his own managerial style?
Throughout the season, Jose Mourinho has bitten into his squad and torn the dressing room into factions, criticising players from every clique and nationality, and the performance showed signs of all that strain. Atletico played as a team, each player contributing heroically in defending and attacking; be it Thibaut Courtois’ wonder stop, Juanfran’s excellent goal line clearance or Diego Costa’s effective tracking back. As the game wore on and the referee awarded more free-kicks against Real Madrid, players grew tired and frustrated, ultimately leading to Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo’s dismissals. Shredded into different allegiances, Real failed to regroup and believe they could overcome some of their rotten luck, eventually playing in a dejected fashion typical of the way Mourinho plans to leave the famous club.
Mourinho & Ronaldo ejected but will they continue their Bernabeu exits?
The way in which Mourinho has conducted himself in recent weeks shows no signs that he could possibly stay at the Bernabeu beyond the summer – and that continued last night. He appeared almost eager to be dismissed having avoided the deeper areas of his technical area for the past few weeks, roaring with his effervescent vigour so typical of his will to win. Yet it proved a rare foray forwards and almost as if he knew what to say to warrant a red card, proving the man has emotions behind his concealed persona of late. The same could be said of Ronaldo who, despite scoring the opener, allowed his emotions to gain control and a petulant kick in Gabi’s face saw the talisman dismissed. In truth he could have been sent off before the game went to extra-time, kicking out at Juanfran and deliberately handling the ball on one occasion. Linked with a move back to England, specifically Manchester United, the frustration witnessed at the Bernabeu may be a deeper sign Ronaldo too wants out of the stadium for good.
Bad tempered and full of drama – does El Clásico now face competition?
The game had cards, fighting, ugly challenges and plenty of squaring up – and we loved it! Reminiscent of a clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid roughly five years ago, before both teams gained arguably too much respect for one another. El Derbi madrileño proved a welcome return for the amateur dramatics and craziness La Liga has to offer. It may have been ugly but during Cup finals which are far too often cagey and bland affairs, the feistiness meant you couldn’t take your eyes off of it! With Atletico now boasting the bragging rights, next year’s derbies may rival those of the showdowns between Real and Barcelona.