Real Madrid 3, Man City 1 (UEFA Champions League Semi Final, Real Madrid win 6-5 on aggregate)
Rodrygo scored twice in the 90th minute before Karim Benzema hit an amazing winner in Extra Time as Real Madrid beat Manchester City in a dramatic Champions League semi final.Embed from Getty Images
Riyad Mahrez had scored the goal which City thought had taken the through to the Champions League final with a 5-3 aggregate win to face Liverpool in the final in Paris.
But a last minute double from Rodrygo – their first shots on target in the game to make it 5-5 – ensured that Real Madrid survived for another 30 amazing minutes during which Benzema hit the winning penalty to win 6-5 after he was fouled by Ruben Dias in the City area.
Just minutes earlier Jack Grealish had missed two gilt edged chances to finish off Real who, once again, refused to lay down and die having survived four separate occasions where City had a 2 goal lead over them.
In the end, their profligacy in both legs cost City dearly as Real Madrid qualified for their 17th European final at the expense of City.
City had looked set to qualify for a second consecutive Champions League final which was made possible with the contribution of Kyle Walker who neutralised the threat of Vinicius Junior – undoubtedly helping City ensure that Ederson faced no shots on target from the home side.
Walker, last seen in the second leg of the Atletico Madrid game before he was injured, came back as one of two changes from last week’s first leg.
He was joined in the side by Joao Cancelo – returning from suspension – as Oleksandr Zinchenko and the injured John Stones missed out with Pep Guardiola naming his best available side.
And Walker’s presence was certainly needed as he neutralised the threat of Vinicius Junior on his flank.
Rather than a rock and roll match from the first leg, the return leg was a much more tactical affair.
Karim Benzema headed over the bar in the early stages and there was a fracas as both sides sized each other up.
Aymeric Laporte and Luka Madrid were booked after colliding in the aftermath of a Man City free kick award.
Riyad Mahrez’ free kick was straight into the arms of Thibaut Courtois while Vinicius blazed over after the ball broke to him when City failed to properly clear.
Courtois parried a shot from Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus’ rising and curling shot just cleared the crossbar as the pace started to up.
Rodri conceded a free kick on the edge of the area as Vinicius tried to go past him – Toni Kroos stepped up but a deflection took it behind for a corner.
Foden’s long range shot was palmed away by Courtois while Kyle Walker made up five yards to catch Vinicius and tackle him.
Benzema missed a great chance to score before the offside flag was raised just before half time after he thought he had sprung City’s trap.
And yet for all the Real posturing and flooding forward they still couldn’t get a shot on target in the first half and could easily have lost Casemiro had the referee spotted his clever cynical fouling – a blatant shirt pull on Foden the most egregious offence.
Fernandinho warmed up during half time as a precautionary measure after Walker appeared to be injured towards the end of the first half.
Vinicius missed a sitter seconds into the second half after Benzema released him following a long pass forward by Modric.
After Real’s warning, City regained control of the game with Jesus having a shot saved by Courtois – a fifth chance for City.
Modric’s shot was blocked by Ruben Dias and Ederson was helped out by Laporte as City eventually cleared the threat as Vinicius’ threat grew.
Casemiro tried to find Vinicius but Bernardo Silva cleared the threat as City defenders crowded round the Brazilian winger who was also denied by a clearance from Laporte soon afterwards.
Walker went down in the 62nd minute, and Oleksandr Zinchenko was ready to come on before the England defender told Pep Guardiola he could continue.
Real Madrid made the first change of the game, bringing on the more attacking Rodrygo for Toni Kroos with 22 minutes to go.
Vinicius and Walker had a coming together as the Real man ran after a ball over the top – and this finally spelled the end of Walker’s contribution for the night.
Walker was finally withdrawn for Zinchenko while Ilkay Gundogan replaced the quiet De Bruyne.
Riyad Mahrez scores to put Manchester City 5-3 up on aggregate over Real Madrid
The game was split wide open seconds later when Gundogan released Bernardo Silva with a great pass and the Portuguese was given plenty of room to run at the retreating Real defence before sliding the ball to the right where Mahrez was lurking and his shot flew into the roof of the net past Courtois.
It was the Algerian’s 24th goal of the season and that prompted the arrival of Marco Asensio and Eduardo Camavinga as Real now needed to score twice to force extra time.
Jack Grealish came on for Gabriel Jesus for the last 12 minutes as City looked to see out the game.
Benzema had a shot saved by Ederson before the offside flag went up and City followed up with their fourth change – Fernandinho replaced goalscorer Mahrez as City further shored up their midfield.
Cancelo’s swerving shot was saved by Courtois as he went for glory with Gundogan free.
Grealish had two chances to kill off the game three minutes from time – he had a shot blocked on the line by Ferland Mendy and had another shot touched away by Courtois soon afterwards.
And the home side finally had their say with their first shot on target after 90 minutes.
Camavinga’s ball into the box found by Benzema whose square ball across the 6 yard box was converted by Rodrygo as the game went into 6 minutes of added time.
And a minute later Rodrygo headed past Ederson from Carvajal’s cross to level the tie from 8 yards out.
Rodrygo had a great chance for a hat trick saved by Ederson as City rocked from the earlier twin goal salvo.
Fernandinho won a free kick on the edge of the area which was taken quickly to Foden who shot past the post.
Ederson saved from Benzema in the opening period of Extra Time but there was worse to come for shell shocked City.
Dias fouled Benzema in the penalty area in the 93rd minute and the penalty was given.
This time Benzema went to his right, sending Ederson the wrong way with a well struck spot kick for his 43rd goal of the season and his 10th in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Raheem Sterling was called for as City stared defeat in the face – he replaced Rodri.
Appeals for handball against Cancelo were waved away as City tried to pick their way through the Real defence.
Courtois saved from Foden’s glancing header but Fernandinho couldn’t put away the loose ball as Real started to make defensive changes to see out the game with City having made too many changes to be able to score a goal to take it to penalties.
Defeat leaves City chasing just one trophy – the Premier League – and they must pick themselves up for the game against Newcastle United on Sunday as they look to prevent Liverpool from securing a historic quadruple.
MATCH STATS – Real Madrid 3, Man City 1 (UEFA Champions League Semi Final, Real Madrid win 6-5 on aggregate)
Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Militao (Vallejo 115), Nacho, Mendy, Casemiro (Camavinga 75), Kroos (Rodrygo 68), Valverde, Modric (Asensio 75), Vinicius Junior (Vazquez 115), Benzema (Ceballos 104)
Real Madrid Subs not used: Lunin, Fudias, Alaba, Marcelo, Jovic, Mariano
Bookings: Modric 8; Carvajal 65 (foul on Kevin de Bruyne); Militao 84 (foul on Jack Grealish); Valverde 95+6 (foul on Fernandinho)
Goal: Mahrez 73
Man City: Ederson, Walker (Zinchenko 72), Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodri (Sterling 99), De Bruyne (Gundogan 72), Bernardo Silva, Mahrez (Fernandinho 85), Foden, Jesus (Grealish 78)
Man City Subs not used: Steffen, Carson, Ake, Egan-Riley, Palmer, McAtee, Lavia
Bookings: Laporte 8; Sterling 101 (foul on Rodrygo); Zinchenko 113 (foul on Rodrygo)
Goals: Rodrygo 90, 90+1; Benzema 95 pen
Referee: Daniele Orsato