Same old story for Los Col­choneros

New Straits Times - - Sport -

Atletico Madrid’s 3-0 loss to ri­vals Real Madrid in the first leg of their Cham­pi­ons League semi-fi­nal on Tues­day was just a con­tin­u­a­tion of re­sults that have blighted the team for al­most 60 years.

Real’s vic­tory at the San­ti­ago Bernabeu means they are poised to knock Los Col­choneros out of the com­pe­ti­tion for the fourth suc­ces­sive year.

Two of those de­feats came in the 2014 and 2016 fi­nals in Lis­bon and Mi­lan re­spec­tively, the other a quar­ter-fi­nal elim­i­na­tion in 2015, but per­haps the most dis­ap­point­ing as­pect of Tues­day’s re­sult was that it was fully de­served.

Real dom­i­nated from start to fin­ish with Cris­tiano Ron­aldo scor­ing a hat-trick, while Atletico only cre­ated two real chances in the first half, and wasted both.

The loss was a con­tin­u­a­tion of re­sults Atletico have suf­fered in con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tion against Real since the Euro­pean Cup semi-fi­nal in 1959 de­spite coach Diego Sime­one’s reign bring­ing more bal­ance to the ri­valry.

The Ar­gen­tine, how­ever, has not given up on his team’s chances yet.

“We will try and take the chance we have, no mat­ter how small it is,” Sime­one told re­porters.

“I feel re­laxed, more than any­thing else, more than ever. We will try for some­thing im­pos­si­ble, as we are Atletico Madrid, we are ca­pa­ble of do­ing it.”

De­spite the coach’s words of hope, elim­i­na­tion seems an in­evitabil­ity.

A pre-match ban­ner caused some con­ster­na­tion at Atletico ac­cord­ing to re­ports in Spain, as Real fans cre­ated a dis­play which read ‘tell me how it feels’, with ref­er­ences to Mi­lan and Lis­bon.

Over 4,000 Atletico fans at­tended the game and they re­mained for over 15 min­utes after the fi­nal whis­tle, singing about never giving up on their team.

Un­for­tu­nately their team had given up on them by the 73rd minute of the first leg, con­ced­ing Ron­aldo’s sec­ond goal be­fore he com­pleted his hat-trick four min­utes from the end, leav­ing them­selves lit­tle hope of a come­back next week.

Atletico Madrid de­fender Diego Godin and goal­keeper Jan Oblak look de­jected after con­ced­ing a goal to Real Madrid at the San­ti­ago Bernabeu on Tues­day.

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