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Real Madrid win Champions League with Ronaldo penalty

Yannick Carrasco's 78th minute goal gave Atletico a lifeline. Photo: Reuters

Yannick Carrasco's 78th minute goal gave Atletico a lifeline. Photo: Reuters

Real Madrid beat their city rivals Atletico in the UEFA Champions League final tonight to be crowned champions of Europe for the eleventh time in their history. 

It took penalty kicks to settle this energetic clash between the two Madrid clubs, with a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty sending the white half of Madrid into raptures after 120 minutes of football could not break a 1-1 deadlock. 

For Real fans, victory was especially sweet as it came against their city rivals. It was the second time in three seasons that Real beat Atletico in the Champions League final.  

The Blancos went ahead in the 15th minute after Sergio Ramos - who appeared to be marginally offside - tapped in a Toni Kross free-kick cross which Gareth Bale had deflected into his path. 

Sergio Ramos celebrates scoring the opening goal. Photo: ReutersSergio Ramos celebrates scoring the opening goal. Photo: Reuters

The goal appeared to stun Atletico, with Real Madrid dominating much of the first 45 minutes and Atletico struggling to maintain the compact formation that has become their trademark.

But Diego Simeone's men came storming out of the blocks in the second half and earned themselves a penalty kick just two minutes in. Their French star Antoine Griezmann stepped up to take it, but his shot smacked against the lower half of the crossbar and bounced wide. 

As Atletico pushed higher up the pitch in search of an equaliser, Real Madrid's counterattacking force of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale looked to pounce - and they almost did, with Atletico's defence scrambling to clear the ball as it pinged around the box in the 77th minute. 

And then, barely a minute later, Atletico had their equaliser. Griezmann made up for the penalty miss with a delicately scooped ball into Juanfran's path, and the right back crossed it into the centre for Yannick Carrasco to knock home. 

Antoine Griezmann's penalty hit the crossbar. Photo: ReutersAntoine Griezmann's penalty hit the crossbar. Photo: Reuters

It was Real Madrid's turn to have the wind knocked out of their sails, and Atletico were the more adventurous side in the opening 15 minutes of extra time.

Real picked up the pace somewhat in the  second 15 minute period, but with neither side managing to break the 1-1 deadlock, the game headed to penalties. 

Both sides slotted home their first three penalties. Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos then coolly placed his penalty into the net, but Atletico's Juanfran could only hit the post with his effort. 

It was then up to Cristiano Ronaldo to win the game for Real, and the club's all-time top scorer made no mistake from the spot. 

It was the second time in three seasons that Atletico were forced to watch their biggest rivals lift European football's greatest club trophy. Atletico were literally seconds away from beating Real in the 2014 final, only for their more famous rivals to force extra time and then steamroll them 4-1.

Recent games involving the two Madrid clubs seemed to favour Diego Simeone's resilient Atletico side, which had lost just one of the previous 10 fixtures between the two clubs. 

Real Madrid's triumph consolidates their position as the most successful club in UEFA's history. The club have won the Champions League or its predecessor the European Cup 11 times - four times more than AC Milan, who rank second on the all-time winners' list. 

Ronaldo celebrates scoring the winning penalty. Photo: ReutersRonaldo celebrates scoring the winning penalty. Photo: Reuters

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