It’s crazy: Real Madrid qualify for the final after overthrowing Manchester City (3-1, ap)

Real are definitely special. And Real is in the final. The Merengues again produced a legendary performance to overthrow Manchester City in the Champions League semi-final return on Wednesday evening and join Liverpool on May 28 in Saint-Denis (3-1, ap).

Even the spectators at the Santiago Bernabeu no longer dared to believe it when the Cityzens, winners in the first leg (4-3), led in the score as additional time approached. Pep Guardiola’s men had been delivered a quarter of an hour earlier by a superb goal from Riyad Mahrez (73rd). Rodrygo nevertheless came to slam an incredible double (90th and 90th + 2) to equalize on the double confrontation and send the two teams into overtime. Karim Benzema then scored from the penalty spot (94th) and the club with 13 European titles can aim for a 14th at the end of the month.

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The first leg had reached heights in terms of the show, the scenario for this return leg changed into the unimaginable in a few moments. Yet this meeting has long struggled to find its rhythm. Faced with Cityzens hesitating between their ability to seize the ball to attack, and a real caution in positioning, the people of Madrid were, at first, able to be more determined in their intentions.

First clumsy attackers

Dani Carvajal quickly centered on the right and found Karim Benzema but the latter placed his head above the target (4th). Same fate for his resumption of the right on a cross from Federico Valverde (11th). Twirling on the left, Vinicius also misdirected (18′).

Opposite, City gradually made their offensive faculties speak in the wake of Kevin De Bruyne on alternating current. The Belgian served Bernardo Silva whose recovery was rejected by the vigilant Thibaut Courtois (20th). The too discreet Gabriel Jesus missed the target in turn (23rd). Courtois dived perfectly again from a strike from Phil Foden and the Mancunians failed to demonstrate their best technical mastery in the first half.

Immediately after the break, Real started very strong but Vinicius failed to push the ball into the opposing nets by tackling (46th). City, however, put their foot on the ball and the debates fell into a false rhythm despite a great burst of energy on both sides. Approaching the last quarter of an hour of regulation time, the incoming Ilkay Gundogan nicely launched Bernardo Silva who went to serve Mahrez on the right of the zone of truth for a shot from the left which surprised Courtois at the near post (0 -1, 73rd).

Mahrez (Manchester City), scorer on the lawn of Real Madrid

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Paying choices for Ancelotti

With this 7th achievement of the Algerian in C1 this season, City had a break in advance and all the Madrid supporters were silent. As when celebrating the very recent coronation of his players in La Liga with a cigar in his mouth, Carlo Ancelotti nevertheless remained calm. After taking out Toni Kroos to launch Rodrygo (68th), he replaced Casemiro and Luka Modric with Marco Asensio and Eduardo Camavinga (75th).

The people of Madrid, however, were slow to deliver to try to catch up. It was even Pep Guardiola’s men who chained three huge chances with a missile from Joao Cancelo diverted by Courtois (86th), a crazy save from Ferland Mendy in front of the empty goal on a shot from Jack Grealish (87th), then a new shot from the Englishman that Courtois deflected with the tip of his foot (87th).

Like PSG, like Chelsea, Manchester City failed to kill the King of Europe and paid dearly for it. Because even if the minutes passed more than dangerously, Rodrygo equalized six meters after a discount from Benzema and the meeting took a completely different turn (1-1, 90th).

Rodrygo scores in the return half between Real and City in the Champions League

Credit: Getty Images

An unreal end to the game

While some spectators had left the stadium, all the others suddenly started to believe it again and capsized in unthinkable joy when the Brazilian did it again with a header from a cross from Carvajal to snatch an unexpected extension (2-1, 90th+2). Rodrygo even almost scored again in stride but came up against Ederson (90th + 3).

The extension started in a crazy way, with overexcited Madrid. Served by Camavinga, Rodrygo crossed towards Benzema who obtained a penalty for a foul by Ruben Dias. The French striker transformed it (3-1, 94th) to score a 15th goal in the competition in 2021-2022, the 10th in the final phase, but above all to put the Merengues in a favorable position for the very first time in this double confrontation.

If Fernandinho missed the boat by failing to push the ball into the back of the net (105th + 2), the Cityzens, logically stunned, did not really revolt. They stayed in their usual scheme instead of taking advantage of the ambient madness. Like its coach Ancelotti who will play his 5th C1 final, Real Madrid has once again made his incomparable experience and his insane self-sacrifice speak. Liverpool, his next opponent, is warned and can shake.

Real Madrid beat Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals

Credit: Getty Images

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