Real Madrid through to Champions League final

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Real Madrid await their opponent in the UEFA Champions League final, eliminating Bayern Munich 4-3 on aggregate following a pulsating 2-2 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid to qualify for their third consecutive final appearance.

Bayern Munich, who impressed all night, dominated from start and took an early in Madrid. Similar to Juventus, the early tactic was to target Marcelo, and a cross from his wing which Ramos couldn’t clear was emphatically dispatched by Joshua Kimmich.

The young utility player opened scoring in the first leg deceived Navas again, shooting to the far post while the Costa Rican goalkeeper dived to his near post.

Real Madrid responded immediately through Karim Benzema, unexpectedly from a patiently made goal. Los Merengues dazed the Germans by stringing twenty eight passes together which spanned over two minutes. The French striker is known for his decoy role which leaves Ronaldo in acres of space to wreck havoc, but the roles were reversed. Ronaldo drew the attention of two defenders, leaving the much maligned Benzema to nod in Marcelo’s cross unchallenged at the far post and level the match on the night.

Bayern were slicing Madrid’s defence with ease and should have regained the lead- Rodriguez blazed wide from two yards- but were nearly caught on the counter by the defending European Champions who fashioned out two quick chances. First, Ronaldo’s low shot was well parried at the near post, while Ramos headed wide from the resulting corner kick.

Real did take the lead straight from the restart in fortuitous circumstances brought about by Zidane’s wards pressing to perfection. Thiago Alcantara’s hurried back pass to goalkeeper,Ulreich, had him in two minds. The stand-in keeper slipped and Benzema pounced, tapping home his second goal of the match for Madrid.

Ronaldo, who was well marshaled by Süle and Hummels all night, should have extended the lead but the Real talisman blazed wide from four yards out with only Ulreich to beat.

Bayern, however, got the equalizer their performance deserved through on-loan Real Madrid player, James Rodriguez, on 63 minutes. The Colombian attacker, who duly apologized to the Bernabeu crowd, pounced on the rebound after his initial shot was blocked by Varane.

Despite the introduction of Bale and Casemiro, It was all Bayern going forward. Tolisso drew a superb save from Navas, Ribery took a heavy touch for the rebound, Varane produced an excellent block to deny James Rodriguez and Muller’s header was stopped from creeping in by Navas.

Zinedine Zidane had talked about his team having to suffer, a thought echoed by captain Ramos, and ensured by Jupp Heynckes’ Bayern. The German champions laid siege to Madrid’s goal with a series of crosses but couldn’t get past an impressive Navas who rescued Real on several occasions.

Surprisingly, Real Madrid resorted to time wasting much to the anger of the entire Bayern contingent, and they eventually saw out five minutes of added time to preserve Zidane’s record of not being knocked out in the Champions League since he became a manager as they seek their 13th UCL crown and third on the bounce.

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