Friday, 25 May, 2018

Real reach third straight European final

Josep Maria Bartomeu GETTY Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu happy with Ernesto Valverde's time at Nou Camp
Eugene Bates | 02 May, 2018, 01:55

Bayern Munich suffered from a nightmarish déjà vu in Tuesday's second leg of its Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid.

The last ten minutes saw a barrage of chances from the German side, who were trying everything.

Real were first out the blocks in the second half, as Benzema capitalised on a bad mistake from Sven Ulreich to bag his second of the night and put Madrid back in control. The ball again fell to a Bayern player as James Rodriguez came streaking in at point blank range, but he agonizingly blazed the shot over the bar, a strikingly bad miss.

Real Madrid welcomed Bayern Munich to the Bernabeu with a 2-1 aggregate lead from the first leg.

With the German side feeling confident after the break, their hearts were broken just 28 seconds into the second half.

Bayern found consistent space on the left side of the field, almost forcing Madrid head man Zinedine Zidane to make a very early defensive sub.

Joshua Kimmich scored for Bayern in the third minute to set the stage for another comeback at the Santiago Bernabeu, like the one Juventus almost pulled off in the quarterfinals. James stuck out his foot to almost convert right in front of goal after Robert Lewandowski's effort was blocked by Madrid goalie Keylor Navas, who was again brilliant. Niklas Sule sent in a cross from a deep right position, and it came to Rodriguez in acres of space at the penalty spot.

Despite the disastrous error by Ulrich, Bayern was able to respond to make things interesting.

It was roles reversed as the second half kicked off, this time Madrid got the early goal. The goal featured 28 passes in the build-up, second to only a Barcelona group stage score for most in the Champions League this season according to Opta.

James Rodriguez, on loan from Madrid, hit a deserved equaliser for Bayern in the 63rd to set up a gripping finale but despite waves of pressure from the visitors, the Spaniards clung on, becoming the first team since Juventus in 1998 to reach the final for three years in succession.

Following the mistake, Bayern pushed forward knowing they needed two goals to advance.

They will face either Liverpool or Roma, with the Reds holding a 5-2 lead over the Italian side after an action-packed first leg at Anfield.

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