Real Madrid's stunning fightback denies Manchester City a place in Champions League final

Spanish giants will meet Liverpool on May 28 after astonishing late recovery

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Real Madrid will meet Liverpool in the Champions League final on May 28 after an incredible recovery to beat Manchester City 3-1 in their semi-final second leg on Wednesday, and win the tie 6-5 on aggregate.

Real were trailing 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu when goals a minute from the final whistle and another in stoppage time from Brazilian Rodrygo took the clash into the extra period.

French striker Karim Benzyma then converted a penalty to book Real a place in the final in Paris, and leave City heartbroken after last season's runners-up were denied another opportunity to claim club football's biggest prize.

It was another magical Champions League night at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium for the 13-time European champions.

Madrid had already pulled off thrilling comebacks at the Bernabeu against Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 and Chelsea in the quarter-finals.

The result ended City’s quest for their first Champions League trophy after Pep Guardiola’s side lost in the final last year to Chelsea.

Madrid looked beaten near the end of normal time when Rodrygo scored his goals two minutes apart. Riyad Mahrez had put City ahead in the 73rd but the Brazilian forward equalised in the 90th and headed another a minute into stoppage time.

Madrid carried all the momentum into extra time and Benzema gave the hosts the 3-1 lead by converting a 95th-minute penalty kick after he was fouled inside the area.

It capped another amazing night for coach Carlo Ancelotti, who became the first manager to reach five Champions League finals.

Last Saturday, he became the first manager to win a title in each of the top five European leagues.

Ancelotti told BT Sport:"I cannot say we are used to living this kind if life, but what happened tonight it happened against Chelsea and also against PSG. If you have to say why, it is the history of this club that helps us to keep going when it seems that we are gone.

"The game was close to finished and we managed to find the last energy we had. We played a good game against a strong rival.

"When we are able to equalise we had a psychological advantage in extra-time. It was difficult as City had control of the game but the last opportunity we were able to go to extra-time.

"I am happy to be there in the final, in Paris against another great rival. We are used to it. It will be a fantastic game for football."

City boss Guardiola said: "We were close. But in the end we could not reach it.

"It is simple. In the first-half we were not good enough. But we did not suffer much. After we scored the goal we were better. We found out tempo and our game and the players were comfortable.

"It is not like in the last 10 minutes they attack and attack and you suffer. It didn't happen. They put a lot of players in the box, with Militao, Rodrygo, Vinicius, Benzema and they put in crosses and scored two goals.

"We didn't play our best, but it is normal, a semi-final, the players feel the pressure and wanting to do it. Football is unpredictable, it is a game like this. We have to accept it.

"Now we need to process that and come back, with our people at home and the last four games we have."

Madrid defeated Liverpool in the 2018 final, when the Spanish powerhouse clinched their record-extending 13th title.

Updated: May 04, 2022, 10:32 PM
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