Spanish La Liga giants Real Madrid reached the final of the 2018 UEFA Champions League for the third successive season after beating German champions Bayern Munich 4-3 on aggregate in the semi-final.
It was not an easy second leg for the Madridistas at the Santiago Bernabeu, though, as they had to make sure the Germans did not score after the 63rd minute for them to qualify on away goals rule.
Joshua Kimmich had pulled the trigger early for the Bavarians after just 180 seconds of play, equalling the one-goal deficit from the first leg, which had ended 1-2 in favour of Tuesday’s hosts.
But Karim Benzema headed home an important equaliser for the Spaniards to justify the confidence reposed in him by manager Zinedine Zidane.
He made it more thrilling for Real as he put them in the lead just a minute after the break, capitalising on an unpardonable mistake by the Bayern goalie Sven Ulreich.
But a 63rd minute strike by Colombian James Rodriguez – on loan at Bayern from Madrid – made the home fans sit on tenterhooks as another goal from the visitors would have spelt doom and shattered hopes of winning a 13th Champions League title.
That dream lives on as Madrid held on to become the first side so far to book a place in the May 26 final to be played in Kiev, Ukraine.
They await the winner of the AS Roma-Liverpool semi-final, which is to be settled on Wednesday.
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