European Team of the Season, 2013/14

June 2, 2014
European Team of the Season, 2013/14

The final post of a very enjoyable 2013/14 domestic campaign – the usual XI (and back-ups) of the season.

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Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid (AET): Real snatch late equaliser at end of cautious first 90 minutes before becoming rampant in extra-time

May 27, 2014
Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid (AET): Real snatch late equaliser at end of cautious first 90 minutes before becoming rampant in extra-time

Real won the European Cup final with an impressive late rally.

Carlo Ancelotti selected Sami Khedira as Xabi Alonso’s replacement deep in midfield, and chose Fabio Coentrao over Marcelo at left-back. Raphael Varane started rather than Pepe, who wasn’t 100% fit.

Diego Simeone wasn’t able to call upon Arda Turan, so Raul Garcia started on the right. Simeone gambled on the fitness of Diego Costa, but the Brazilian-cum-Spaniard was nowhere near fully fit, and Adrian Lopez replaced him inside ten minutes.

This looked set to be a classic underdog victory – reactive, counter-attacking and with the winner from a set-piece – but Real’s own set-piece equaliser forced extra-time, and from then there was only one winner. Read more »

Barcelona 1-1 Atletico: Simeone’s side seal historic title victory at the Camp Nou

May 19, 2014
Barcelona 1-1 Atletico: Simeone’s side seal historic title victory at the Camp Nou

Atletico fought back from 1-0 down to record the most amazing title victory in years.

Gerardo Martino surprisingly left out Xavi Hernandez from his starting XI, with Neymar also only on the bench. Cesc Fabregas and Pedro Rodriguez were preferred.

Diego Simeone named two strikers in an attack-minded line-up, although he lost both Diego Costa and Arda Turan through injury before half-time, with Adrian Lopez and Raul Garcia replacing them.

Barcelona had spells of pressure, took the lead and rallied late on – but overall this was another superb defensive performance from Atletico, meaning they ended the season unbeaten against Barca, with one victory and five draws. Read more »