Madrid – Karim Benzema scored an extra-time penalty as Real Madrid made another surprising Champions League comeback to stun Manchester City 3-1 on Wednesday and book a showdown with Liverpool in the final.
City looked confident to fold when Riyad Mahrez led the Premier League club 1-0 in the match and 5-3 overall, but Rodrygo, as a substitute, scored an incredible brace in the final, with his goals in the 90th and At 91 ‘the tie ends in extra time.
City were still reeling as Real Madrid scored the knockout, when Benzema earned and then converted a penalty to secure a 6-5 overall win, while another stunning comeback at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium joined. to the club’s long list of magical European nights.
“It’s the greatness of this club,” said Real manager Carlo Ancelotti. “It’s a club that won’t let you quit even if it seems all over. It gives you the strength to go on, to fight, to believe ”.
Ancelotti said his players watched a video showing eight of Real Madrid’s comebacks this season before the match for inspiration.
“In the end it said ‘there is still one more and we did it,” said Ancelotti, after becoming the first coach to reach five Champions League finals.
Real Madrid had already used unlikely rallies to defeat both Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 and Chelsea in the quarter-finals.
Like PSG and Chelsea, City will wonder how they lost a game they largely controlled, and there will be a new check on manager Pep Guardiola, who, despite all his success, goes another year without bringing the City to the European glory it craves.
“It’s hard for us, I can’t deny it,” said Guardiola. “We were so close.”
City’s collapse would have been almost inexplicable had it been against anyone other than Real Madrid, advancing to their 17th final in the competition. Real Madrid is a win against Liverpool after lifting the fourteenth European Cup.
“Another magical night from the kings of Europe,” read a banner draped over the grandstand at one end before kick-off, but for most of the normal time, the match was not up to par. seven-goal thriller at the Etihad Stadium last week.
Real Madrid were the most determined at the start, with Benzema giving a couple of tough opportunities that he sent off target.
Meanwhile, Luka Modric and Rodri clashed over a challenge from Casemiro and then City stepped forward, forcing Real Madrid to miss when Kevin De Bruyne hit Thibaut Courtois from range before the keeper had a clever reaction, saving a shot by Bernardo Silva.
Real Madrid survive and then improve before half-time, with Modric causing a roar of satisfaction as he passes De Bruyne to cut a counterattack.
The best chance comes within seconds of the second half when Dani Carvajal finds space on the right, but Vinicius Junior shoots wide at the far post.
An injury to City right-back Kyle Walker disrupted Real Madrid’s momentum and the visitors scored as the game found its rhythm. Ilkay Gundogan’s pass cut Madrid’s midfield and found Silva, who danced to the edge of the area.
Silva prepares for the shot but instead wedges the right ball on Mahrez, who smashes him hard, at the beginning and passes Courtois.
When Modric left, some of Madrid’s beliefs seemed to go with him.
Jack Grealish, who came in as a substitute, could have doubled the advantage for City, but somehow Ferland Mendy cleared the line, before another Grealish shot crossed the post.
It seemed irrelevant because Madrid looked dead and buried but somehow, out of nowhere, the Spanish giants found a way back.
It was 90 minutes when Benzema blunted a ball brilliantly through for Rodrygo to squeeze into the near post and the cheers for the goal were just a little louder than for the stadium announcer saying there would be six minutes of injury time. .
Real only needed one when Carvajal put a cross into the box, where the minute Rodrygo hit his head.
When play resumed, Real Madrid emerged as the strongest team and, four minutes later, scored a penalty as Benzema fell on Ruben Dias’ tired, forward leg before ignoring City’s distraction attempts by throwing the penalty kick in the corner.
City pushed when Fernandinho came just close to the far post when Courtois saved. A late shot by Dias in the area ended up harmless in Courtois’ hands, City’s latest attempt failed.
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