Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Defending Champions Real Madrid Will Face Juventus in The UEFA Champions League Finale in Cardiff, Wales

Crystian Mendoza, Sports Editor

Real Madrid had a comfortable lead going into the second-leg of the semi-finals against Atletico Madrid, but now traveling away from home to the Estadio Vicente Calderon, Real Madrid would have to stop Atletico’s attack by any means necessary in order to secure a spot in the finale June 3.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick for Real Madrid in the first-leg saw the Portuguese reach a milestone of 400 goals for Los Blancos. With the game underway, it was Atletico Madrid who managed to open the scoreboard as Saul Niguez powered a header past Kaylor Navas’s near post off of a beautiful cross from Koke. The Atletico Madrid midfielder leaped above the rest and produced a brilliant bullet of an effort to find the back of the net, reducing their deficit to two.

Leaving Real Madrid shaky after an early goal, Atletico continued to pressure Los Blancos defence and their efforts were rewarded with a penalty kick after Raphael Varane dropped Fernando Torres inside the box giving the referee no choice but to blow the whistle. Antoine Griezmann stepped up for Atletico, and even after a poor strike his spot kick made it passed Navas gloves into the net, making it a 2-0 game early on.

Real Madrid would need to figure out something defensively if they wanted to keep their Champions League hopes alive. The hero of the game came in minute 42 when Isco Alacron scored off of Jan Oblak couldn’t contain Toni Kroos’s shot allowing a lone Isco to calmy tap away the away goal Real Madrid so desperately needed in order to secure a spot in the final. Karim Benzema was the architect of the play, as he created the opening as he got past three Atletico defenders with a sumptuous piece of skill along the byline before teeing up Kroos.

The game would remain evenly matched for the remainder, as Real Madrid are headed to Cardiff for the final for the second year in a row, and now have the possibility to be the first team to defend the crown in back-to-back seasons. Juventus lead Monaco 2-0 on aggregate as the Italian giants defeated the French League runner ups in the first-leg, forcing Monaco to at least need to score two of their own while conceding none if they wanted to continue.

After 33 minutes, Juventus scored the opener after a brilliant counter-attack that started off of a Monaco corner-kick, with Sandro and Paulo Dybala combining down the left-wing before switching the ball to Dani Alves who whipped in a cross to Mario Mandzukic whose initial header was blocked by an alert Subasic before Mandzukic slotted in the rebound. Right before the half ended, Juventus doubled their lead off of a corner kick thanks to a poor clearance from Subasic who punched the ball directly to Alves, who ferociously first-timed the 25-yard volley past the keeper making it a 4-0 game for Juventus who looked to be headed to Cardiff soon too.

Monaco would pull back a consolation goal of their own, but it would prove to be too little too late as youngster Mbappe gets in ahead of Juventus’ defence to poke in the ball from close range. Juventus would go on to win the game 4-1 on aggregate as they now secured their spot in the UEFA Champions League Final, and will face Real Madrid June 3 at 11:45 AM.   

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Rio Hondo College Newspaper
Defending Champions Real Madrid Will Face Juventus in The UEFA Champions League Finale in Cardiff, Wales