Real Madrid See Off Bayern to Reach 3rd Straight Champions League FinalSports Tuesday, May 1st, 2018
(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Title-holders Real Madrid reached the UEFA Champions League final for a third year in a row after drawing 2-2 in their semi-final second leg match on Tuesday.
Real Madrid took advantage of Bayern Munich’s carelessness in attack and defence, winning 4-3 on aggregate.
Bayern Munich defender Joshua Kimmich put them in front in the third minute at the Santiago Bernabeu but Karim Benzema levelled with a free header in the 11th minute.
A goalkeeping howler from Bayern Munich’s Sven Ulreich then allowed Benzema to tap in Madrid’s second at the start of the second half.
James Rodriguez, on loan from Real Madrid, hit a deserved equaliser for Bayern in the 63rd minute to set up a gripping finale.
However, the Spaniards clung on in spite of waves of pressure from the visitors.
It enabled them to become the first team since Juventus in 1998 to reach the final for three years in succession.
They will meet either Liverpool or AS Roma in the final match in Kiev on May 26.
There, they will bid to become the first side since Bayern Munich in 1976 to win the competition three years in a row.
Real Madrid had ridden their luck to win the first leg in Munich 2-1.
This was after Bayern Munich had missed a slew of chances and Zinedine Zidane’s side made the most of their few opportunities.
Real Madrid fans unfurled a giant banner before kick-off stating “we will defend the throne, we will capture glory”.
However it was Bayern who launched an early assault on their kingdom as David Alaba came rushing forward only to pass into the hands of goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
Bayern Munich came back down the other flank and landed their first punch when Sergio Ramos failed to clear a cross and Kimmich gleefully knocked home from close range.
It was the third consecutive home game in the knockout stages that Real Madrid had fallen behind, but they kept their composure and soon found an equaliser.
A superb crossfield ball from Luka Modric was controlled by Marcelo who delivered the perfect cross for Benzema to nod calmly in at the back post.
An end-to-end game ensued, with midfield frequently being bypassed by long balls up to the forwards.
Bayern could have re-taken the lead when striker Robert Lewandowski was foiled by Real Madrid goalkeeper Navas and Rodriguez sent the rebound flying over the bar from close range.
The German side finished the half strongly but were left fuming at a failed penalty kick appeal when a shot from Kimmich struck Marcelo’s arm.
They sealed their own demise, though, when Ulreich lost his footing as he tried to control a back pass from Corentin Tolisso.
His error allowed Real Madrid’s much-maligned striker Benzema to tap in what proved to be the killer blow.
Bayern Munich still created chances before and after Rodriguez’s goal.
Navas denied the Colombian and Mats Hummels headed wide from a corner in stoppage time.
The result sealed Bayern’s fifth consecutive UEFA Champions League exit to a Spanish side, and their third to Real Madrid in that time.
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