Karim Benzema scored an extra-time penalty as Real Madrid made another astonishing comeback in the Champions League to stun Manchester City 3-1 on Wednesday and book a clash with Liverpool in the final. City looked certain to go through as Riyad Mahrez put them 1-0 and 5-3 ahead, but Rodrygo, as a substitute, scored an incredible late double, his goals in the 90th and 91st minutes sending the equalizing goal into extra time.
While City were still reeling, Real Madrid took the knockout blow as Benzema earned and then converted a spot kick to take a 6-5 overall win, with another notable fight at the Santiago Bernabeu that was added to the club’s long list of magical European clubs. nights.
This season Madrid had already made the most unlikely of saves to beat both Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 and Chelsea in the quarter-finals, but given the stakes and how close they were to defeat, this one against Manchester City was certainly the most dramatic .
Like PSG and Chelsea before them, City will wonder how they came out as losers in a game they largely controlled and there will also be a new investigation into coach Pep Guardiola, who, for all his success, will have another year continues without leading City to European glory they crave so much.
City’s collapse would have been almost inexplicable had it been against anyone other than Real Madrid, advancing to their 17th final in the competition. They are a win against Liverpool away from winning a 14th European Cup.
“Another magical night from the kings of Europe,” read a banner draped over the stands at one end for kick-off, but for most of the normal time this match fell short of the seven-goal thriller in the Etihad Stadium last week .
Real Madrid were more assertive at the start, with Benzema having some difficult opportunities that only he, in his current form, could have expected to convert. Instead, he headed up and fired high.
In between, Luka Modric and Rodri collided over a Casemiro challenge and then City stepped forward, causing Madrid to make a mistake when Kevin De Bruyne hit Thibaut Courtois from distance before the goalkeeper had to make a smart response from Bernardo Silva.
Real Madrid survived and improved before halftime. Modric caused a roar of satisfaction as he defeated De Bruyne and cut off a counter.
Probably their best chance came within seconds of the restart when Dani Carvajal found space on the right, but Vinicius Junior shot wide of the back post.
City were on the back foot as space opened up for Modric in the penalty area, but poor contact with the ball made his finish difficult. A sloppy Kyle Walker pass dislodged Casemiro, but weaving Vinicius couldn’t find a way through.
– Mahrez strikes –
An injury to Walker put a brake on Madrid’s momentum and when the game found its rhythm, City struck, Ilkay Gundogan’s pass cut through Madrid’s midfield and found Silva dancing to the edge of the penalty area.
Silva formed to shoot, but instead clamped the ball straight to Mahrez, who crushed the ball hard, early and past Courtois.
Modric took off and part of Madrid’s conviction seemed to go with the Croat.
Jack Grealish, as a substitute, could have made two for City, but somehow Ferland Mendy came off the line, before another Grealish shot flashed past the post.
It felt insignificant because Madrid looked dead and buried, but somehow, out of nowhere, they found a way back.
It was the 90th minute when Benzema brilliantly muffled a ball for Rodrygo to get to the nearest post and the cheers for the goal were only a little louder than for the stadium announcer who said there would be six minutes of extra time.
Madrid only needed one, as City, so compact and composed for so long, was suddenly stretched out and all it took was for Carvajal to swing a cross into the penalty area, where little Rodrygo came in.
When play resumed Madrid emerged stronger and four minutes later they were awarded a penalty. Benzema tumbled over Ruben Dias’ tired, lunging leg before ignoring City’s attempts at distraction by rolling the dot into the corner.
City pushed as Fernandinho narrowly missed the back post when Courtois parried away. A late tap by Dias in the penalty area floated harmlessly into Courtois’s hands, with City’s last attempt coming to nothing.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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