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Atletico in Champions League final

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Friday, May 02, 2014

LONDON - Atletico Madrid set up a Champions League final against city rivals Real Madrid after coming from behind to win 3-1 at Chelsea in their semi-final second leg yesterday.

After a 0-0 draw in the first leg, former Atletico striker Fernando Torres put Chelsea ahead in the 36th minute at Stamford Bridge, but the London club were to lead the tie for only eight minutes.

Adrian Lopez scrambled home an equaliser shortly before half-time and second-half goals by Diego Costa, from the penalty spot, and Arda Turan sealed Atletico's place in their first European Cup final since 1974.

Diego Simeone's team are also two wins from claiming a first La Liga title in 18 years, meaning that they could be looking to complete an improbable double when they meet their old foes Real in Lisbon on May 24.

It will be the first European Cup final between two teams from the same city.

"Of course I'm very happy," said Simeone. "I thought the reaction to their initial goal was crucial. In the second half we started very well.

"When we achieved the 2-1, that pretty much settled the game and from then on in we controlled the game."

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, was denied a reunion with his former employers Real, with whom he had also experienced semi-final disappointment in each of the previous three seasons.

"One minute in the second half decided everything," Mourinho told Sky Sports.

"A minute where the Atletico goalkeeper makes an impossible save to a John Terry header, then the penalty that kills the game.

Fears of a new-fangled defensive configuration proved unfounded, as Cesar Azpilicueta was deployed as a fairly orthodox right-sided midfielder, but the early stages proved every bit as cagey as last week's first leg.

The tie was on a knife-edge, but nine minutes from half-time Chelsea seized the initiative.

After Willian ran into a blind alley on the right flank, Azpilicueta followed up with a low cross that Torres steered past Thibaut Courtois via a deflection off Mario Suarez.

The former darling of the Vicente Calderon made a point of not celebrating, holding his hands in the air in apology, but Stamford Bridge celebrated with abandon.

Former Chelsea midfielder Tiago Mendes picked out right-back Juanfran with a floated pass to the back post and his volleyed cross bobbled between a phalanx of defenders to Adrian, who swept home.

Referee Nicola Rizzoli had already ignored an Atletico penalty claim when Turan was bundled over by Azpilicueta, but when Costa went down after skilfully nicking the ball past Eto'o, the Italian awarded a spot-kick.

David Luiz planted a header against the post from a Willian free-kick as Chelsea pressed for an equaliser, but Turan killed the tie in the 72nd minute by tucking home after his own header came back off the bar.


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