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.
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?