Real Madrid reached their 14th European Cup final and ended Manchester City's hopes of a first title after securing a 1-0 victory in the second leg of their Uefa Champions League last-four clash on Wednesday.
Zinedine Zidane’s side will face city rivals Atletico Madrid in the final for the second time in three seasons after a first-half own goal from Fernando was enough to secure a narrow win that barely reflected Real’s dominant display.
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After last week’s goalless first-leg stalemate, Madrid, chasing a record-extending 11th European title, opened the scoring after 20 minutes when Gareth Bale’s cross was deflected into the top corner by the City defender.
The victory opened the door for Real Madrid manager Zidane to end his first season at the club with club football’s most coveted prize, while ending City manager Manuel Pellegrini’s hopes of signing off from the club with European silverware.
City had made a bright start but their early momentum was halted in its tracks as captain and centre back Vincent Kompany was forced off with a muscle injury after nine minutes, handing the initiative to the hosts, who quickly went on the offensive.
City looked slightly overawed as they handed territory to Real Madrid who punished them when Bale picked up Dani Carvajal’s pass and aimed a cross towards the far post that was deflected by Fernando past Joe Hart into the top corner.
The linesman’s flag prevented City falling further behind when Pepe stabbed into the net only for his effort to be ruled out for offside, while City’s only glimpse of goal in the first half came when Fernandinho’s effort clipped the post.
The goalmouth action was all in City’s box early in the second period as Hart was called upon to keep his side in the match.
Luka Modric spurned a huge chance to put the tie to bed when he fired straight at Hart as the Croatian seemed surprised himself not to have been flagged offside.
Hart also kept out a Ronaldo header and fierce drive from the edge of the box as Madrid pressed.
Bale then saw a looping header come off the bar as, just as in the first leg, Madrid constantly caused City problems from set pieces.
Pellegrini turned to the pace of Raheem Sterling and Kelechi Iheanacho in place of the ineffectual Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas for the final quarter.
And Pellegrini’s men nearly snatched the goal they needed a minute from time when top scorer Sergio Aguero’s first serious effort of the tie dipped onto the roof of the net.
Real keeper Keylor Navas then injured himself in scurrying from his goal to clear a long through ball.
Yet, despite a frantic finale, Madrid continued their record of not conceding a goal at home in the Champions League this season to progress to their 14th European Cup final.
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