Trailing Manchester City 5-3 on aggregate with 90 minutes on the clock, Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid went on to complete a remarkable comeback in extra time and reach their 17th European Cup final ,they have won 13 of the previous 16.
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So often backed into a corner in this season’s Champions League, Real Madrid will play Liverpool in the final after escaping from their tightest spot of all to beat Manchester City 3-1 on the night and 6-5 on aggregate.
Liverpool and Madrid also met in the final in Paris in 1981. Alan Kennedy scored the 82nd-minute winner for Liverpool.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City were tactically smart in keeping Real Madrid at arm’s length for much of this game, denying them even a single shot on target for 89 minutes. So when Riyad Mahrez’s first-time effort beat Thibaut Courtois at his near post, it looked to be not only the seal on a devastating counterattack but the rubber-stamp on a classic away performance and the decisive goal in the tie.
Riyad Mahrez has now scored four goals in four Champions League semi-finals
Though Jack Grealish twice went agonisingly close to hammering in the final nail with just three minutes left – Ferland Mendy and Courtois to Madrid’s rescue – few could have predicted what was to follow.
First, with 90 minutes on the clock, Rodrygo beat Ederson to Karim Benzema’s cutback to give the hosts hope, but time was still against them.
Or so it seemed. Just a minute later, Rodrygo headed in Dani Carvajal’s cross to make it 5-5 on aggregate.
Rodrygo becomes the first player to score twice in the 90th minute of a Champions League knockout match.
And even then, Ederson was required to deny Rodrygo the unlikeliest of hat-tricks and force extra time.
Just five minutes into the first period, Karim Benzema dusted himself down from a Ruben Dias foul to convert from the spot and complete a remarkable turnaround.
Courtois was then on hand to keep out Phil Foden’s header to ensure no further twists.
Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola on Champions League semi -final match against Real Madrid at Bernabeu on Wednesday ,he said,”We were close, but in the end we couldn’t do it. The first half we weren’t good enough, but we didn’t suffer much. We found our tempo after the break, but we didn’t play our best. Football’s unpredictable and you have to accept it. We need time to process this.
It is tough for us. We cannot deny it. We were so close to arriving in the Champions League final.
After the goal we controlled it. We found the game, we arrived at the byline. Jack (Grealish) helped us to control the game and unfortunately, he could not finish when we were close.
Before the first goal [for Madrid] we had two chances, especially one so clear with Jack.
In that moment we didn’t have the feeling we were in trouble for the way they attack. It didn’t happen. They score a goal at the end. They have done it many times in their history.”
"We didn't suffer much. But we didn't play our best."
"Football is unpredictable. It's a game like this. Sometimes you have to accept it."
Pep Guardiola tries to process how it went wrong for Man City this evening…
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 4, 2022