Real Madrid made a remarkable turnaround at the last minute of the second half to force the Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid, early Thursday, continuing into extra time before Karim Benzema’s penalty in the late afternoon. Extra round brings Madrid to the final against Liverpool on 29 May.
Riyad Mahrez had brought Manchester City almost to the Champions League final in the 73rd minute, but Rodrygo’s two goals in one minute made in the 90th and 90+1th minutes made it impossible.
Mahrez’s goal put City ahead 5-3 on aggregate after winning the first leg in Manchester last week 4-3. But 17 minutes later City’s second Champions League final chance was lost when Rodrygo scored twice in one minute to make it 5-5.
Received the ball from Bernardo Silva from the middle of the penalty box which directed the ball to the left sector which was met with Mahrez’s strong kick which beat goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
It was Mahrez’s fourth goal in City’s four Champions League semi-finals, including against Paris Saint Germain last season.
But just in the 90th minute, Madrid cut the aggregate deficit to 5-4 when Rodrygo finished off Benzema’s pass with a volley that Ederson couldn’t keep out.
One minute later Dani Carvajal’s cross was met by two for the Madrid players with the last reaching Rodrygo’s head who steered the ball into a corner beyond Ederson’s reach.
Immediately after equalizing and starting the first half of extra time, Madrid struck with a stab to kill the game.
Three minutes after Man City keeper Ederson made a crucial save that denied Benzema’s goal, the France striker sprinted along with team-mate Junior Vinicius into the City penalty area for a pass.
City centre-back Ruben Dias attempted to clear the ball but the referee declared it a foul even though Dias’ feet appeared to be touching the ball.
Benzema successfully carried out his duties as penalty kick executioner by sending the ball slowly to the right when Ederson moved to the left.
For the first time in these two semi-finals, Madrid took the lead, and simultaneously held control of the final at 3-1 or 6-5 on aggregate.
This extraordinary reversal could not be separated from the decision of Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti who included Eduardo Camavinga to replace Luka Modric and Marco Asensio to replace Casemiro in the 75th minute or four minutes after Madrid trailed 0-1 in this second leg.
Camavinga proved effective in taming City in midfield and became an anchor in the middle both when assisting the defense in warding off City attacks and as a supplier of the ball to the attack line which made the Benzema and Vinicius duo increasingly rampant.
City tried to score in two extra time but did not succeed so that their dream of reaching the Champions League final was dashed.