It took the entire 1st leg and 88 minutes of the 2nd to break the deadlock, but defending champions Real Madrid march on to the semi finals where they join Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus.
The tie seemed destined to be heading for extra time after Real’s fierce cross town rivals continued to stifle their attack, but Atletico’s hopes were dashed in the 75th minute with the dismissal of Arda Turan. This galvanised the home side, who found the back of the net with two minutes remaining after Javier Hernandez slotted home from Cristiano Ronaldo’s ball.
Similarly to the 1st leg, it was Real Madrid that had the lion’s share of the ball and they settled into their passing quickly. Despite this, they continued to struggle to break down Diego Simeone’s well drilled squad. This frustrated the hosts, who had at times lacked a cutting edge without key contributors Benzema, Modric and Bale in attack.
Jan Oblak was in fine form once again when Real managed an attempt on goal, saving well from Hernandez’s effort inside the area, as well as Ronaldo’s attempt just before the end of the 1st half.
Atletico slowly grew into the game, increasing the nerves of the home fans, as they began to ask their own questions of the Real backline. Jesus Gamez tested Iker Casillas, but as the second half went on the hosts were the team on top and looked more likely to score.
Turan, who had done an excellent job man marking Ronaldo, was given his marching orders with 14 minutes remaining after an aerial clash with Ramos saw the midfielder pick up his 2nd yellow. This gave Real the impetus to go on and win the game, but they would leave it late with just 2 minutes remaining and they finally sealed the victory after 178 minutes of deadlock.
After playing a smart one-two with James Rodriguez, Ronaldo darted into the box and squared the ball to Hernandez, who kept his cool to tap the ball into the net. This sparked jubilant scenes at the Bernabeu, and left no time for 10-man Atletico to mount a notable attack.
The win saw Real Madrid reach the semis for the 5th straight season, but importantly it was their 1st victory over their cross town rivals in 8 meetings this season. They managed this without the likes of Benzema, Bale and Modric, and although it took a red card to change the game, this will boost Real Madrid who have not had the greatest season.
The defeat will leave a sour taste in the mouths of Atletico Madrid, who performed admirably over both legs. They put in a masterful defensive performance against one of the best attacking teams in Europe, and if it were not for Turan’s dismissal then it could well have been heading for extra time and penalties.
This will do little to comfort Atletico and their fans, who could not complete their revenge for last seasons Champions League final defeat at the hands of their cross-town rivals.
The draw for the semi final takes place on Friday, and Real Madrid’s quest to become the first team to retain the Champions League trophy continues.