Atlético Madrid had a mountain to climb in order to get back into their Champions League semifinal tie against Real Madrid after losing the first leg 3-0, and it looked for a minute that they just might do it. Atleti jumped out to a 2-0 lead just 16 minutes into the match, needing just one more goal to at least force extra time. Then Karim Benzema turned into Neymar and skinned three Atlético defenders about two times each, setting Isco up for what should be the tie-killing goal:
Seriously, that move was downright preposterous. Let’s look at it some more:
Benzema probably wasn’t even really looking for anything more than a corner there, until he realized that the Atlético defenders didn’t want to give one away and thus were standing off of him, giving him enough room to snake past them. So yes, that was some lax, overly cautious defending by Atleti (though at the same time, we all know what Real can do with their heads from set pieces), but mostly it was an ingenious bit of skill from Benzema.
It’s just past halftime now with the score of today’s match 2-1, giving Real a commanding 4-2 aggregate lead. Atlético—a defense-first, methodical, counter-attacking team by nature—must win by a four goal margin in order to make it to the UCL final against Juventus. Not going to happen.