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Another historic comeback at the Bernabéu: Real Madrid to the Champions League final

Lenin Boscaney
7 min read
Another historic comeback at the Bernabéu: Real Madrid to the Champions League final
Benzema scored the 3-1 and thus completed the historic comeback at the Bernabéu.

The Santiago Bernabéu hosted the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Manchester City, a match that resulted in a comeback for the 'merengues', as they had lost 4-3 in the first leg at the Etihad.

Ancelotti came out with news in the starting squad. David Alaba was the great absentee for not being fully recovered from the injury and for that reason Nacho replaced him in the center of the defense line along with Militao, Carvajal and Mendy. Casemiro returned to midfield alongside Kross and Modric, while Vinicius, Benzema and Valverde were in the attack line.

In the same way, Guardiola recovered his sides that he missed so much in the first leg. Cancelo and Walker were on the wings, while Laporte and Rubén Dias were central. Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri and Bernardo Silva as always in midfield; and repeated in the attack on Foden, Gabriel Jesús and Mahrez.

The game began with the local initiative facing the attack. At minute 4, Carvajal, near the edge of the area, lifted a cross to the penalty spot that Benzema headed, but without giving it much direction and the ball went over the crossbar.

At 8', the referee stopped the match due to an infraction that ended in a confrontation between Laporte and Modric. The referee ended up showing the yellow to both players.

Another from Madrid came in the 11th minute. Valverde received a pass down the right wing entering the area, he passed it to Benzema first and the Frenchman took a shot as best he could, but the ball went over the crossbar again.

But at 14', De Bruyne in three quarters of the pitch, takes shape and takes a powerful shot that Courtois stops in two stages. First notice of the 'citizens'. At 17' Madrid responded with an attack that Benzema tried to finish off, but the defense prevented it, the rebound fell to Vinicius, who controlled it with his chest and took a left-footed shot that went high.

The clearest of the first half came for the visiting team at minute 19. Militao gets tangled up and loses the ball, City controls it and they pass it to Bernardo Silva who, entering from the right sector of the area, goes hand in hand with Courtois and takes a powerful shot that the Belgian goalkeeper diverts to a corner.

At 22', City once again had another opportunity through Gabriel Jesús who took a shot from the edge of the area, which went wide, touching the top corner. At 25', the white team receives a free kick near the area in the left sector. Kross charges it and the pitch hits the barrier and narrowly misses.

Several minutes passed without generating any clear chances until, in minute 40, Foden took a powerful shot from mid-range that goalkeeper Courtois deflected again with a great stretch. With this result they would go to rest, there were only 45 minutes left for Manchester City to qualify for the final or Madrid to overcome the global score.

The second half began and Madrid quickly took the initiative in attack. Carvajal receives down the right wing and makes a first-class pass for Vinicius to arrive and push it into the back of the net, but the Brazilian failed again when defining.

At 49' Gabriel Jesús tried with a shot that Courtois stopped without problems. Madrid responded at 51' through Vinicius, who reached the last line and took a back pass for Modric to shoot, but the Croatian's shot bounced off and then goalkeeper Ederson and the defender got tangled up trying to clear the ball.

At 54', 56' and 60' Vinicius was once again the protagonist, leading several times, but on all of them he got tangled up and failed to control or finish well. There were already several opportunities that Madrid was wasting facing the rival area.

At 68' Ancelotti takes out Tony Kross and brings in Rodrygo, while at 72' Guardiola takes out Walker and De Bruyne; and put Zinchenko and Gündogan. A minute later, City set up a counterattack from midfield that Bernardo Silva received and led it to the edge of the area where he passed it on to Mahrez who came from the right and finished off to make it 0-1.

The hopes for the local team diminished, since the advantage of Pep's men increased by two goals. Ancelotti took out at 75' to Casemiro and Modric for Camavinga and Asensio to enter. Guardiola at minute 77 brought out Gabriel Jesús and put in Grealish. At 84', he took out Mahrez and put in Fernandinho.

City had three clear plays. At 85', Cancelo took a powerful shot from the edge of the area that Courtois deflected without any problems. A minute later, Grealish arrives from the left and takes a shot, with Courtois already beaten, but Mendy shoots from the goal line. Grealish himself at 87' enters from the left and shoots low, but the Belgian deflects with his foot.

An agonizing end that started the comeback

Another historic comeback at the Bernabéu: Real Madrid to the Champions League final
The 'merengues' manage to qualify for the Champions League final since 2018 when they beat the 'Reds'.

The comeback began with a goal from Rodrygo in the 90th minute. The play came from a cross that Benzema reached from the left wing and passed it first to the small area so that the Brazilian pushed it to score the partial 1-1.

One minute later, the referee having added six minutes to go, Carvajal returns a ball into the area, Asensio manages to touch it and Rodrygo scores a header to make it 2-1 (5-5 on aggregate) and with the tie they went to the extension. Not without first, Rodrygo being in a one-on-one with Ederson and his shot is deflected by the goalkeeper to the corner.

With that result they would go to extra time. At 91', Benzema would warn with a shot from the edge of the box that the goalkeeper would stop in two halves and at 92', the Frenchman received a pass inside the area, but Rubén Dias ended up knocking down Madrid's '9' with a strong tackle.

The referee did not hesitate to point out the maximum penalty and Benzema himself charged from the eleven steps to score the final 3-1. City would keep trying, Guardiola at 104', he would take out Rodri for Sterling to come in, while Ancelotti took Benzema out for Ceballos at 105'.

At the end of the first extra time, Foden finishes off with a header, but Courtois deflects and the ball falls to Fernandinho who tries to hit the ball on the last line, but it goes wide.

The second extra time was characterized by being more leisurely. Several Madrid players were trying to kill time, such as Militao who suffered from a sore groin and ended up being substituted by Vallejo at 115', Vinicius also left and Lucas Vázquez came on.

It would not be enough for City to tie the game. Real Madrid qualifies for the Champions League final against Liverpool, which will take place in Paris on May 28 ; a new edition, since these same teams met in the kyiv final where Madrid beat the 'Reds' 3-1 in 2017-2018.

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