Champions League semifinal Real Madrid 3-1 Manchester City
Santiago Bernabeu stadium was the theatre of another magical night of football. Once more Real Madrid came back from nowhere to qualify for the Champions League final in Paris. They will face Liverpool in one of the most anticipated matches of the season.
Real Madrid, down 4-3 after the first leg and then 1-0 at the 73rd-minute thanks to a goal from Mahrez was against the wall. Even more, Man City had several chances to put the game to sleep but Courtois and his defensive line kept the one-goal advantage for Man City. It was enough for Madrid and super-sub Rodrygo to score 2 goals in less than 3 minutes. The tie was leveled at 5-5 on aggregate and we headed to overtime.
Benzema is clutch
Karim Benzema has been the best player in La Liga this season, and the best player in the Champions League. Not only did the Frenchman give the assist on the equalizer in the 90th minute but he scored the go-away goal in the 95th minute thanks to a cold-blooded taken penalty. At 3-1, Madrid did not look back and reached the Final on the best ever knock-out stage run the UEFA Champions League has seen
Ancelotti – Real Madrid coach
“It’s not so easy to explain. When everyone thought the game was finished it came down to just one fine detail, a good combination and a goal by Rodrygo. We put all our energy into it. You need a bit of luck to win these types of games though”.
The opposition were strong. The game was very complete and the team didn’t give up. After Manchester City scored it became much more difficult, but we were committed. We were lucky and had the energy. The changes helped. The players gave everything because it was such an intense game. We pressed well high up and City played the way they always play, but it worked out well.
I’m delighted to be involved in another final against a great team in Liverpool. I played against them as a player and as a manager I faced Liverpool in 2005, in 2007 and I was in Liverpool for two years. For me it is like a derby because I still am Everton fan”.
Guardiola – Manchester City coach
“It is tough for us. We cannot deny it. We were so close to arriving in the Champions League final.
We didn’t play much good in the first half. We didn’t find our game, but it’s normal in this competition. The second half was much better.
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.
They put a lot of players in the box. Four strikers plus Militao and they find the goals.
I have had defeats in the Champions League. I have had tough defeats with Barcelona against Chelsea when both games were exceptional and we could not reach the final.”