Football is beautiful, but it can be cruel too, none so much as during an European Cup final. As the outnumbered section of Red & White army of fans celebrated with abandon, the vast majority of spectators at the Stade de Lyon cascaded into hushed, indistinct chatter with Gabi’s late second-half goal that sealed Atletico Madrid’s third UEFA Europa League triumph.
The writing had been set in stone almost forty minutes prior when Antoine Griezmann slotted in his second goal of the night past an outstretched Steve Mandanda after dancing through Marseille’s penalty area with effortless ease. The Frenchman’s second goal of the night only reiterated what many had suspected leading up to the Europa League final – Atletico Madrid would outplay the Ligue 1 side even without fully exerting their might.
Even the most zealous of Marseille fans knew their club were the essential underdogs for the night, because although Atletico did not boast of multimillion dollar signings, as modern footballing economics suggest, they have a solid core of players who have accomplished victories and suffered heartbreaks together.