REPORT | 01/05/2018 | Javier GarcíaThe kings of Europe booked a place in their third consecutive Champions League final after a Benzema double clinched a draw against Bayern.
- Champions League
- Semi Final (Second-Leg)
Both teams flew out the blocks, the forward players getting the better of their defensive counterparts as the rivals traded blows. Bayern raced into an early lead with one of their first forays forward. A miscued Ramos clearance after a cross from the right stopped the ball dead, and Kimmich was on hand to fire home (3’). Madrid wasted no time in producing a response. With just 6 minutes on the clock, Cristiano dragged his shot wide after being set up by Benzema and then on 11’, the French striker brought the game level as he rose to head home a fine Marcelo cross.
The goals did nothing to alter the open nature of the game. Both teams continued flooding forward in search of goals whenever they had the ball, while the defences continued to struggle. On the half-hour mark, Marcelo and Kroos created two dangerous opportunities down the left flank. Next up, it was Bayern's turn, as a superb piece of individual play by Ribéry finished in a Müller shot, but Navas was more than equal to it.
Shortly after, the Whites goalkeeper kept out another shot from the German front man with the move ending in a James shot which just missed the target. In the 39th minute, Madrid had one of the clearest chances with Cristiano making space before releasing a shot towards the far post, but Ulreich turned it behind for a corner with the resulting set piece being headed wide by Ramos. A crazy first half was brought to a close with a shot from Tolisso on the stroke of half time.
The second half couldn't have started any better. Tolisso played the ball back to Ulreich, who failed to clear, and Benzema was on hand to restore the lead on the night (46'). With nothing to lose, Bayern threw everything forward. Alaba called Keylor in to action but Madrid had chances to kill off the tie and looked dangerous every time they got near the visitors' area. Two shots in quick succession from Modric and Cristiano went just wide of the Bayern goal.
The minutes were ticking by and the intensity didn't drop as the game became end-to-end. Bayern went in search of an equaliser and it came from right boot of James as the Colombian beat Keylor after the keeper had kept out his initial effort (63'). The game was wide open and Zidane seized the opportunity to introduce Bale and Casemiro. On 74', Navas was called upon once again, and he became Madrid's hero, preventing Tolisso from putting the Bavarians ahead. As the pressure was building at both ends, Bale and Cristiano looked to put the game to bed on the counter attack. Müller again tested Navas with a header as the German side looked for what would have been a winning goal. The final minutes turned into a real battle, with balls being launched in to Keylor's area, but a place in another Champions League final was never going to come easily. Now it's time to continue adding to the Real Madrid legend in Kiev