In one of those British headline writer’s dream (England’s Daily Mail called it an “embarrassment of epic proportions”), Arsenal bombed out of the Capital One Cup quarter-finals, losing to … wait for it … fourth-tier Bradford City.
It really is ashamed that so much of the talk here will be about Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, etc., because it really was a monumental effort, as esteemed NBC colleague Arlo White called it on Twitter. By most accounts, Bradford City was better Tuesday and fully deserving of its first Carling Cup semifinal appearance. Underscoring that sentiment is the fact that …
Arsenal played a strong side, with only a couple of non-regulars.
This will add yet another hardy layer to the ongoing debate on whether Wenger remains the right man for the job around the Emirates. On the one hand, he has the Gunners back in their most familiar of spots, in Champions League knockout stage. It really is an impressive run, competing now in the elimination phase of the world’s best club competition for a 13th consecutive season. On the other hand …
Wenger’s trophy drought will continue, and that means something to a club like Arsenal. Last hardware for Gunners: the 2005 FA Cup. The Carling Cup may not approach the FA Cup (and certainly isn’t in the same stratosphere as an EPL title or a Champions League crown), but it carried the distinction of being the best route to a title around the Emirates this year.
Ronaldo after Champions League win: “Our team showed more experience”
The world was treated to the rare sight of a shirtless Cristiano Ronaldo as he celebrated the clinching penalty in a win over Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final in Milan on Saturday.
Jokes aside, one of the greatest players of his generation did get a moment to remember despite having a rather forgettable 120 minutes beforehand. Ronaldo buried the final penalty to give Real a 5-4 win in kicks after a 1-1 score line post-regulation.
“The penalties are always a lottery, you never know what will happen but our team showed more experience and we showed it by scoring all the penalties. A fantastic night for us.
“It is the end of the season and people are not fit, we have to rest and we have to go for the Euros.”
Then again, when you’re a superstar and have a trio of UCL crowns, you can feel however you like. Ronaldo’s never been a man for John Wooden-style quotes — heck, we’d even take David Beckham’s personality from him — but he’s won it all thrice.
And to be fair, the other two were better games (and performances from him). Ronaldo scored for Manchester United against Chelsea and capped off the scoring in the 2014 Real win over Atleti.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the match-clinching penalty kick after 120 minutes couldn’t separate Real and Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday in Milan.
Sergio Ramos scored an early goal before Yannick Carrasco equalized late, and it took penalty kicks to separate Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
Antoine Griezmann missed a penalty kick early in the second half, and Juanfran was the only player to miss in kicks.
Here’s how kicks played out:
Real Madrid — Lucas Vasquez scores
Atletico Madrid — Griezmann scores
RM — Marcelo scores
AM — Gabi scores
RM — Gareth Bale scores
AM — Saul scores
RM — Ramos scores
AM — Juanfran hits the post
RM — Ronaldo scores
Chippy was the name of the game early, and Atleti clearly wanted to do whatever it took to perturb and even wound Real.
Jan Oblak made a fantastic instinctive save on a sixth minute free kick from Gareth Bale that Casemiro redirected on frame.
Real’s Dani Carvajal picked up an 11th minute yellow card for a late slide tackle on Antoine Griezmann.
The opener came in the 15th minute, as Gareth Bale flicked Toni Kroos’ header onto the doorstep and Ramos ever-so-slightly redirected the chance across the line. He may have also been offside, but the goal counts.
The 33rd minute found Griezmann trying his luck on goal, as Keylor Navas caught the ball for his first real save of the day. Griezmann was firing at will, though the majority of his chances were off frame.
It stayed 1-0 into the break, but changed soon afterwards.
4 – Sergio Ramos is the 4th defender to score in two different #UCL/European Cup finals (Gemmel, Phil Neal and Vasovic). Courage. #uclfinal
Savic just missed being the toe to Diego Godin and Griezmann’s tic-tac when his left-footed tap went wide of the frame in the 55th minute.
Saul knifed a shot wide from the center of the box with a fantastic athletic shot, as Atleti kept control of the play but not the scoreboard.
Real countered with a rare chance in the 70th minute, but Oblak stopped an onrushing Benzema point blank to keep the deficit 1-0.
Cristiano Ronaldo was fairly anonymous for most of the match, and saw Oblak stop his first real shot in the 78th minute. Gareth Bale then tried a cheeky finish that failed when perhaps an easy shot would’ve done the trick. Would it haunt them?
Sure enough, Atleti dialed up an equalized moments later when Carrasco slid onto the end of Juanfran’s cross to make it 1-1 in the 80th.
We headed to extra time, where an advantage was distinctly in Atletico Madrid’s hands. Diego Simeone had used just one substitution to Real’s three, as Zinedine Zidane exhausted his options in trying to close out his rivals.
The first 15 minutes saw Atleti have some success working down the right side, but Real had the better of the dangerous chances aside from Griezmann flashing an overhead kick high off a corner, the last act of the frame.
The second segment was just as Real-framed, and several chances fell to a trigger shy Lucas. Aside from more silliness from Pepe, the only conclusion was penalty kicks.
In celebration, Carrasco raced toward a pitch side suite and into the arms and lips of what we presume is his partner for a gift that must count as much as a few dozen roses (but probably smelled much worse).