Real Madrid avoided disaster tonight by holding off Bayern Munich with a 2-2 draw, giving them a 4-3 win on aggregate in their semi-final tie. Zinedine Zidane has managed to guide Real Madrid to yet another UEFA Champions League final, as the Spanish side aim to win the trophy for an astonishing third straight year. Few people could’ve imagined they’d make it back to the final once again this year after their turbulent La Liga campaign, and yet, tonight their fans will celebrating in the streets as they prepare for a trip to Kiev where they’ll face the winner of tomorrow night’s Liverpool vs Roma semi-final.
While Real came into the second leg with a narrow one-goal advantage from the first leg, it always felt like there was the possibility of Bayern turning the tie around. After all, this seems to be the year of the upset in the Champions League, and Juventus proved in the last round that Zidane’s side are more than beatable on the night.
The game sprang into life within the first three minutes as Joshua Kimmich netted from six yards out for the visitors, sending a message early on that this wasn’t exactly going to be a walk in the park for Real. Of course, due to their two away goals, the reigning Champions of Europe still held the advantage – and Karim Benzema improved on that with a decisive header which took the aggregate score to 3-2 and 1-1 on the night.
A comedy of errors led to Real actually going on to take the lead through the Frenchman yet again, leaving many to wonder what could’ve been this season had the Spaniards not benefitted from so many key mistakes. Still, Bayern made sure that they were going to push Real all the way, as James Rodriguez scored against his parent club to take the Germans to within a point of sealing their place in the final later this month.
Tolisso and Muller both came close with Keylor Navas proving to be the hero of the hour for the hosts, with Mats Hummels also heading wide with an effort that he could live to regret.
But as the final whistle blew there was a sense of relief for Madrid, who of course, would’ve felt as if this was business as usual. It seems likely that they’ll take on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the final on the 26th, although we’ve seen Roma stage a similar comeback already this season – so who knows whether or not they’re capable of doing it again.
You may not like Real due to their overwhelming success and how they tend to play the role of the bad guys, but nobody can knock their efficiency as well as their ability to get the job done.
Real Madrid: Navas (9), Lucas Vazquez (5.5), Varane (7), Ramos (6), Marcelo (6.5), Kovacic (6), Kroos (6), Modric (7.5), Asensio (7), Benzema (8.5), Ronaldo (6.5)
Subs: Bale (6), Casemiro (5.5), Nacho (N/A)
Bayern Munich: Ulreich (4), Kimmich (8.5), Sule (8), Hummels (5.5), Alba (8), Thiago (8), Tolisso (8), Rodriguez (7.5), Muller (6.5), Lewandowski (6.5), Ribery (7)
Subs: Wagner (5.5), Martinez (NA/)
Referee: Cüneyt Çakir
Goals: Benzema x2 :: Kimmich, Rodriguez
Yellow Cards: Vazquez, Varane, Modric, Casemiro
Red Cards: N/A
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