Real Madrid embrace the 'last-gasp goal'

A legendary ability to score important late goals

They’ve done it before. It happened in Lisbon, again in the following Champions League season against Atlético, twice against Sevilla in this year’s Super Cup (first at the end of normal time and then in extra time) and, of course, this week at the Santiago Bernabéu. Each time a last-gasp goal to break a deadlock, a goal in the ‘Cesarini Zone’ (the last few minutes of a match) with the world watching. Perhaps this latest match lacked the importance of the others – it was just another European game, after all – but doing it so often has instilled a legend in the minds of many. The world’s press picked up on it: “A Champions Miracle,” “Terrifying Madrid,” “Last-minute Real Victory.”

Alvaro Morata and Dani Carvajal, both home-grown players, celebrate the striker's last-gasp goal against Sporting

Fond memories of years gone by

Madridistas like that, because it brings up fond memories. Real Madrid do well in the final stages of games. They trailed 2-0 and 3-2 in the first European Cup final against Stade de Reims in 1956 before winning 3-4 with a late goal. Many more have come since then, especially in those famous UEFA Cup comebacks when the team always seemed to find the goal they needed, but these latest cases have had a truly global resonance.

Real Madrid embrace the 'last-gasp goal'

The first European Cup final: Stade de Reims vs Real Madrid, 1956

Real Madrid, a drive to never give up

That drive to never give up, above all in Europe, is what Real Madrid are known for - even among their closest rivals. Guardiola once said it well: there’s no clearer sign that things are going badly at Madrid than if they don’t rise up and push until the very end of a match when things aren’t going their way. Usually, it’s the opposite. Opponents know this and inadvertently help by dropping, encouraging Madrid to pour forward. The club is tied to a legend. The more important the game and the more home-grown players there are, the stronger it becomes. And that’s how the goal that’s needed comes. The last-gasp goal.