The Quest for La Decima is Over

I was lucky when the finals of the Champions League fell on the day that I am off from work so I have the luxury of watching the full match without interruption. But sad to say, it never happened and it was already in the second half when I finally able to watch. As the game slated to start late in the evening (1945 GMT), I thought I won’t be bothered anymore with calls for stand-by from work as I am about to finish my 24-hr on stand-by duty. And since it is hard to predict when an emergency would come out, so does the outcome of the Champions League finals at the packed Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.

So Real Madrid’s quest for La Decima is over at last and they finally sealed the most awaited and record 10th European Cup trophy, the fourth since being renamed to UEFA Champions League in 1992. As if the twists and turns of the season didn’t stop at the final day of league match-up as it carries to the finals of Europe’s football club game. Atletico Madrid were on the verge and are just moments away (2 minutes) from securing their first Champions League accolade in second attempt, only to be denied with a late equalizer from an unlikely (no more) source of goal, Sergio Ramos, that push the game into extra time. The hero from the semi-final win against Bayern does it again with a powerful, well timed header into the far corner that left Courtois helpless.

And it turns out to be a case of history repeating itself when Bayern Munich, in 1974, scored late in extra time after a goalless 90 minutes and forced a replay after it ended 1-1 draw. Two days later, Bayern won 4-0. This was again a cruel end to Atletico’s incredible season as they set to complete a rare double as they already won La Liga a week earlier. Perhaps, it is a near resemblance as Real Madrid came from behind to equalize with only two minutes remaining in injury time. Then Bale, the world record signing from Tottenham, heads home what could be the winner at the far post after a rebound from Di Maria’s shot was blocked before Marcelo drilled a low shot that ended Atletico’s chance for any possible comeback. And Ronaldo made no mistake to clinch La Decima from the spot, re-write the record books again and extended the most goals scored in a single Champions League season to 17 goals.

In the end, it is undeniable that Sergio Ramos’ goal in the third minute of injury time was the platform to go on and secure success in extra time. And Real Madrid’s ruthless pursuit of success has come to an end though it took 12 long years for the elusive La Decima to finally arrive at the expense of city rivals Atletico with an emphatic 4-1 winning margin and I believe it will become one of the greatest Champions League match as it is the first final between two clubs from the same city.

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