Pep Guardiola suffered a third Champions League semi-final defeat in three years as Antoine Griezmann's away goal knocked out Bayern Munich in a classic.
Xabi Alonso's deflected free-kick had given Bayern the lead on the night, before Griezmann netted the crucial strike on the counter. Robert Lewandowski's 39th goal of the season set up a frantic finale, but on a night that saw both sides miss a penalty, it was Atletico who booked a spot in their second final in three seasons.
It was one-way traffic right from the off, with Bayern dominating possession and Atleti content to sit back and soak up pressure – nothing new there. With an almost impenetrable backline it seemed it would take something special for Bayern to breach the Atleti rearguard, but instead it was a slice of luck that resulted in the first goal Diego Simeone’s men have conceded in 632 minutes in all competitions hitting the net, as Alonso’s free-kick was deflected home.
Xabi Alonso celebrates scoring the first goal for Bayern Munich
Image credit: Reuters
With the tie level, the visitors seemed to go to pieces, and conceded a penalty moments later, only for Thomas Muller – on this return to the starting XI - to see his spot-kick well-saved by Jan Oblak.
After the break, though, the visitors provided a sucker punch, as Griezmann broke the offside trap to net a pivotal away goal. The run was timed to perfection, after the France international was a mere spectator for most of the first half.
Bayern threw everything at Atleti, and got themselves back in front on the night through Lewandowski, but Atleti once again produced a defensive masterclass and held on, with even Fernando Torres’ missed penalty deemed meaningless.
Once again, it didn’t matter that Atleti saw almost none of the ball – finishing the game with a measly 27.6% possession - they just need one chance, and in Griezmann they have a man who doesn’t need asking twice to find the net. However, after inheriting a treble-winning side, is Guardiola's lack of success on the continent during his tenure in Bavaria enough for his reign to be judged as a success?
How do Atleti do it? With Bayern appearing almost insurmountable on home soil, with only a one-goal deficit to overturn, the stage seemed set for Pep Guardiola to get the better of his adversary, but once again Diego Simeone came out on top. Without the superstars that many of their rivals possess, Simeone sets his side up to defend first and foremost, and there is no better side in the world without the ball than Atleti – the results speak for themselves. They may not represent an attractive proposition to some, but there is no doubting that Simeone's philosophy gets results.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid): Making his return from injury, there were doubts as to whether the Uruguayan was fully fit, but after appearing to struggle as Bayern relentlessly threw men forward, Godin stepped up when it really mattered, and won absolutely everything in the air and on the ground. Such a vital component for Simeone.
Atletico Madrid's French forward Antoine Griezmann (R) celebrates scoring
Image credit: AFP
Bayern Munich: Neuer 7, Boateng 6, Lahm 6, Alaba 6, Vidal 8, Alonso 7, Costa 6, Martinez 6, Muller 6, Lewandowski 6, Ribery 6. Subs: Coman 6
Atletico Madrid: Oblak 9, Juanfran 8, Godin 9, Gimenez 7, Luis 8, Gabi 7, Augusto 6, Koke 7, Saul 6, Griezmann 8, Torres 7. Subs: Savic NA, Carrasco 8, Thomas 6.
20’ - SAVE! First real opportunity of the evening. Ball is lofted over the top into the path of Muller, who times his run perfectly. However, for some reason, Muller elects to lay the ball off for Lewandowski, who has the angle against him, allowing Oblak to race from his line to block.
31’ - GOAL! Bayern Munich 1-0 Atletico Madrid (agg 1-1). Huge stroke of luck for the hosts as Alonso's strike is deflected past Oblak to level the tie. Alaba was the one fouled, seemed to want to take it himself, Alonso took the ball of the Austria international, drilled at goal, with his strike taking a nick off Jose Maria Gimenez, giving Oblak no chance.
33’ - PENALTY FOR BAYERN! Nightmare for Gimenez as he's penalised for a shirt-pull on Javi Martinez in the Atleti penalty area. After the goal Bayern had surged forward, immediately looking for the second, and they've got a golden opportunity. Great spot from the referee.
Atletico Madrid's Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak (R) gets to the ball ahead of Bayern Munich's French midfielder Franck Ribery (2nd R)
Image credit: AFP
35’ - SAVED BY OBLAK! Huge moment in this match. Muller stepped up confidently, but Oblak got two strong hands to the ball down to his right to beat it away. Poor penalty in truth.
54’ - GOAL! Bayern Munich 1-1 Atletico Madrid (agg 2-1). Antoine Griezmann beats the offside trap to snatch that vital away goal. Extra time not possible now. Griezmann just about stays onside as Fernando Torres headed the ball into his path. Take nothing away from the finish, as he gives the best goalkeeper in the world the eyes and puts the ball right in the corner.
74’ - GOAL! Bayern Munich 2-1 Aletico Madrid (agg 2-2). Lewandowski's 39th goal of the season gets his side right back in it. What a final 15 minutes in store here. Alaba whips a pinpoint cross into the middle, but it is all about Vidal's leap, as he gets up highest to head across into Lewandowski, who heads into the empty net.
84’ - PENALTY TO ATLETICO. Foul on Torres by Martinez.
85’ - SAVED BY NEUER! Torres steps up after winning the penalty himself, but again the spot-kick is poor, and Neuer beats the ball away with two hands, down to his right.
Antoine Griezmann is now Atletico Madrid's top scorer in Champions League history (9).
All six of Xabi Alonso’s goals for Bayern have been scored from outside the box.
Only Cristiano Ronaldo (10) has more goals in the Champions League semi-finals than Robert Lewandowski (6)
Thomas Muller has missed his last two penalties in the Champions League, scoring seven out of 10 in the competition.