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Into the final after an epic fightback

MATCH REPORT. 04/05/2022. Javier García. Photographer: Antonio Villalba/María Jiménez/Helios de la Rubia

Real Madrid will go in search of the Decimocuarta in Paris after overcoming Manchester City in a match they were losing in 89' and which was decided in extra time. Rodrygo (2) and Benzema grabbed the goals.

The Kings of Europe have made it through to another Champions League final. On what was another incredible night of football at the Santiago Bernabéu, Real Madrid produced a stunning comeback against Manchester City. The Whites were losing 0-1 with 89 minutes on the clock, but out of nowhere this legendary team wrote another magical chapter in the club’s history books. Just when it seemed everything was lost, Rodrygo bagged a brace to force extra-time and Benzema converted a penalty to win the tie. On 28 May, Carlo Ancelotti’s men will look to clinch the club’s fourteenth European Cup against Liverpool in Paris. 

The night of the great fightback began with a spectacular reception for the players as they arrived at the stadium and Ancelotti’s side took the game to the visitors in the opening stages of play. First, Benzema went close when he headed over in the 4th minute. City slowly began to get a foothold in the game and apply pressure on Courtois’ goal. On 15’, De Bruyne fired in a shot from distance, but the Belgian was on hand to catch the ball and five minutes later, the keeper did extremely well to deny Bernardo Silva from close range. Vini Jr. then volleyed over at the back post for the hosts.

In the 23rd minute, the Premier League side almost broke the deadlock when Gabriel Jesús shot just wide of the top corner. Toni Kroos then curled a free-kick which flicked off the wall and wide for a corner. The match was evenly balanced as Madrid kept searching for a goal, while City tested Courtois again through Foden, but the score remained at 0-0 as the sides went into the break.

Video.3-1: Into the final after an epic fightback

Real Madrid produced a bright start to the second half, catching City off guard and quickly crafting a fine chance which Vini Jr. just failed to finish. Gabriel Jesús responded a short time later but his effort ended up in Courtois’ gloves. Madrid were looking sharper now though, pressing higher up and causing problems in and around the City box. Guardiola’s team managed to withstand the initial onslaught and gradually began to slow the game back down. With 73 minutes on the clock, Mahrez’s vicious first-time strike finished off a City team move to make it 0-1. Ancelotti’s boys would have an uphill task to turn the tie around now, but backed by their fans, they still believed in an epic finish. City, meanwhile, were looking to put it to bed and Courtois and Mendy were both called into action to keep out big chances for Cancelo and Grealish.
Crazy end to the game
The game was all but done, but Madrid never give in - especially at the Bernabéu and in the Champions League. As the 90th minute ticked around, Rodrygo levelled on the night from a Benzema assist. It was all about faith now, and one minute later, Carvajal whipped in a superb cross for Rodrygo to rise and head home and bring the tie all-square. The Brazilian even had the chance to make it three, but the game ultimately went to extra-time.
Benzema strikes
With the Bernabéu rocking, Madrid came out all guns blazing for the final spell. Their efforts wouldn’t take long to yield rewards, either, when Rúben Dias lunged in and gave away a penalty on Benzema. The competition’s leading marksman stepped up and duly converted from the spot to notch his fifteenth goal of the campaign so far. The hard work was done now but there was still a long way to go, as City continued to bear down on Courtois’ goal. The shot-stopper kept out a Foden header and Fernandinho just failed to turn the rebound home. There’s no getting to a Champions League final without a degree of suffering but now it’s time to enjoy it and focus on adding to the club’s legend in Paris.

Seventeenth European Cup final

Real Madrid will face Liverpool in their 17th European Cup final. The club's record is 13 trophies from 16 finals - more than an 80% victory rate. They are the team to have played in the most finals and also the team to have won the most.

The Bernabéu plays its part once again

The Santiago Bernabéu has played a key role on the road to the final in Paris. In the last 16, Real Madrid won 3-1 in the second leg to come from behind. In the quarter-finals, the clash went to extra time, where a goal from Benzema secured a place for our team in the next round. And then the magic of the Bernabéu reappeared against City to take Ancelotti's side to the final.



The referee

Daniele Orsato (Italy), assisted on the sidelines by Ciro Carbone and Alessandro Giallatini. Davide Massa was the fourth official, while Paolo Valeri was the video assistant referee.