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Real's night of magic and records in Lisbon

There was something magical surrounding this season's Champions League showpiece even before Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid produced one of the great finals on Saturday at Benfica's Stadium of Light.

launch party: Carlo Ancelotti, the victorious coach, is sent skyward by his celebrating players. Picture: EPA
launch party: Carlo Ancelotti, the victorious coach, is sent skyward by his celebrating players. Picture: EPA

It was estimated that more than 100,000 Spaniards made the trip across the border to Lisbon, but only around 40,000 had tickets to watch Real beat Atletico 4-1 after extra time in the first final between two teams from the same city.

"It was a special night, you could just feel something in the air," observed Real manager Carlo Ancelotti of a memorable final littered with records.

"I was not sure it was so magical when we were losing with time running out, but you felt something magical might happen in this stadium and in this city, and luckily for us it did."

It was the highest-scoring final since Liverpool's 3-3 draw with AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005 as Real became the first team to score four in a final since the Italians beat Barcelona 4-0 in 1994.

It was also the first final since Manchester United beat Benfica 4-1 in 1968 that a side had scored three times in extra time to win the European Cup after the game had finished level at 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Extra time was needed after Benfica's Eusebio wasted a chance to win it with seconds remaining at the end of normal time at Wembley before United prevailed 4-1 to become the first English winners of the European Cup.

A year earlier, in the only other final to be played in Lisbon before Saturday's match, Celtic became the first British team to win it when they defeated Inter Milan 2-1 at the National Stadium. But while Celtic's survivors of that night, known as the Lisbon Lions, were feted in the Portuguese capital this week, Eusebio's absence was felt.

The all-time great of Benfica and Portugal's most loved player died earlier this year, as did Mario Coluna, another pillar of the Benfica side that won the European Cup in 1961 and 1962, when they beat Real Madrid 5-3.

That was one of the 13 European Cup finals Real have now taken part in and while Saturday's eventually ended in glory with the elusive "La Decima", or 10th victory, it followed a familiar pattern. In five of their 10 victories, including Saturday's, Real have fallen behind and had to turn matches around to win.

In the first final, in 1956, they trailed Reims 2-0 before winning 4-3, and in 1960 they fought back to beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 after the Germans took the lead. On Saturday, a goal deep into additional time at the end of 90 minutes from Sergio Ramos levelled the scores at 1-1 and sent the game into extra time, where Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Portugal's current poster boy, Cristiano Ronaldo, scored to give Real victory.

History also repeated itself for Atletico, who suffered heartbreak in their only other final in 1974. Then they lead Bayern Munich 1-0 after Luis Aragones had given them the lead with a free-kick six minutes from the end of extra time.

Like Eusebio and Coluna, Aragones also died earlier this year, but he never forgot the anguish he felt as Munich's George Schwarzenbeck equalised in the last minute of extra time to give Bayern a 1-1 draw before the Germans won the replayed final 4-0 two days later.

Bayern went on to emulate Real and Ajax Amsterdam by winning a hat trick of titles. Since then Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and AC Milan have won two successive European Cups, a feat no-one has achieved since Milan in 1989 and 1990 when current Real coach Carlo Ancelotti played in their wins over Steaua Bucharest and Benfica.

Ancelotti made history of his own on Saturday by becoming the first man since Liverpool's Bob Paisley (1977, 1978, 1981) to win three European Cups as a coach.

Ronaldo also became the first player to score in regular time for two different winning European Cup teams, having netted Manchester United's goal against Chelsea in 2008. That match eventually finished with United winning on penalties despite Ronaldo missing in the shootout.

However, he made no mistake on Saturday for his 17th goal of this season's competition, another record. It was that sort of night.

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