Real Madrid booked their place in the Champions League final with a truly astonishing comeback win over Manchester City at the Bernabeu to win 6-5 on aggregate.
As the second leg of the semi-final tie ticked into the 90th minute, City were 1-0 up on the night and in control after Riyad Mahrez had rifled an effort past Thibaut Courtois earlier in the second-half.
But Rodrygo struck an incredible brace in barely more than a minute to send the tie to extra-time, where Karim Benzema rolled home a penalty to put the Spanish side 3-1 up.
City could find no response as their Champions League dream died for another year, as Real ensured they will meet Liverpool in Paris at the end of the year in a repeat of the 2018 final.
City were boosted by the return of Kyle Walker to bring some pace to the right-side of defence, while Real had Casemiro back in midfield.
The Brazilian’s first involvement was to hack down Kevin De Bruyne with an ugly challenge, sparking a clash between both sets of players. Luka Modric and Aymeric Laporte each earned early yellow cards for their role in it.
Benzema had a couple of chances from inside the box, sending the ball over the bar on both occasions, before Vinicius Jr snatched at a presentable chance.
Bernardo Silva had the biggest chance of the first-half, as he was denied by Courtois from close range, and Gabriel Jesus then whipped an effort wide from the edge of the area.
The Real goalkeeper was called into action again to keep out Phil Foden’s volley, shortly after the Englishman had been hauled down by another cynicial foul from Casemiro who continued his miraculous ability to avoid a yellow card.
Second after the break, Real should have taken the lead on the night. Dani Carvajal fired a low cross into the box, and Vinicius sent his effort wide when completely free at the back post. The offside flag went up, but replays suggested it would have been very close.
With the hosts pushing for the goal they needed, the match became increasingly open. Vinicius cut the ball back to Luka Modric, but his touch let him down and the shot was eventually blocked.
Real still failed to register a shot on target though and with 73 minutes on the clock, their task became an almost impossible one. Silva had a huge amount of space to drive into, he then played it in to Mahrez who smashed it first-time past Courtois at the near post to make amends for his first-leg misses.
Jack Grealish came off the bench and very nearly capped the night in style, first having an effort cleared off the line and then seconds later seeing a shot turned inches wide by the Belgian goalkeeper.
Those misses proved to be more costly than anyone could possibly have predicted.
In the 90th minute, the ball was sent into the City box, Benzema at the back post played it across the face of goal and Rodrygo got across his man to flick it into the back of the net.
The home fans celebrated just as wildly when the board then went up to signal six minutes of added time, and seconds later they were sent delirious as Rodrygo levelled the tie up. Carvajal whipped the cross in, and the Brazilian got up brilliantly to power the header past a helpless Ederson.
Rodrygo nearly had the most incredible hat-trick in the space of three minutes, as he found himself through on goal straight from kick-off but this time the City goalkeeper was there to deny him.
The match went into extra-time, and five minutes later Real had the lead on aggregate for the first time in the tie. Benzema was brought down in the box by Ruben Dias and while there was no panenka this time, it was no less cool from the Frenchman as he rolled the ball into the bottom corner.
Real Madrid used every trick in the book to run down the clock in the closing stages and it did the job, as the most successful club in Champions League history sealed a comeback for the ages against a City side who have once again fallen short in the competition they crave more than any other.
Here is Apex Football’s live blog for updates on the Champions League semi-final second-leg clash between Real Madrid and Manchester City. Keep refreshing this page to get all the latest updates!
105+3′ HALF-TIME Real Madrid 3-1 Man City (agg: 6-5)
City were six minutes from the final.
They now have 15 minutes to keep their European dreams alive.
95′ GOAL – Real Madrid 3-1 Man City (agg: 6-5) Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema makes no mistake, slotting into the corner as Ederson dives the wrong way.
5-3 down to 6-5 ahead in the most astonishing of circumstances.
It’s just remarkable.
93′ PENALTY TO REAL MADRID
Karim Benzema goes down following a challenge from Ruben Dias. He’s caught him. This won’t be overturned.
Panenka again anyone?
Pep Guardiola needs to get in his player’s heads now. Those two Rodrygo goals are absolute psychological hammer blows.
Extra-time is underway.
90+2′ GOAL – Real Madrid 2-1 Man City (agg: 5-5) Rodrygo
Can you even imagine what is going through the minds of the City players now? Scrambled!
90′ GOAL – Real Madrid 1-1 Man City (agg: 4-5) Rodrygo
What?! How?! Real Madrid square this up as Rodrygo rises in the box to steer a header home!
Two goals in two minutes. Real back from the dead. City shellshocked.
74′ GOAL – Real Madrid 0-1 Man City (agg: 3-5) Riyad Mahrez
City hit Real on the break with a potentially killer blow!
Bernardo Silva is found in the middle of the field with acres to run into. He is smart enough to hold on to the ball for the perfect amount of time before sending it wide for Riyad Mahrez to lash a shot past Thibaut Courtois.
The final beckons.
73′ Walker limps off. Hopefully, this is not too serious.
Oleksandr Zinchenko replaces him and will presumably play left-back, with Joao Cancelo coming over to the right.
It is one of two changes, with the other seeing Ilkay Gundogan on to strengthen midfield at the expense of Kevin de Bruyne.
62′ Kyle Walker is down off the ball. I think he’s provided all he can this evening.
60′ Real Madrid 0-0 Man City (agg: 3-4)
The Kyle Walker-Vinicius Junior tussle continues.
The Real man nicks the ball off the City defender and charges away. Walker stays with him, but the cross comes in only to be headed away.
52′ Fernandinho was warming up pretty seriously at the break. Word is that Kyle Walker is patched up for this game.
City will want to get as many minutes as they can out of him. Remember in the first leg when Vinicius Junior took Fernandinho to the cleaners for his goal?
46′ Real Madrid 0-0 Man City (agg: 3-4)
Again, the flag is up to strip the drama. But Real have what initially looks to be a huge chance at the start of this half as the ball is sent down the right for Dani Carvajal to fire a low cross into the box for Vinicius Junior to shank wide.
It’s offside somewhere, either against Carvajal or Vinicius Junior. VAR would have looked of course.
The Brazilian should have hit the target regardless.
HALF-TIME Real Madrid 0-0 Man City (agg: 3-4)
The half ends with a couple of City corners that Real deal with well.
As you were. It has been intriguing more than exciting. But City’s one-goal lead remains intact.
45′ Real Madrid 0-0 Man City (agg: 3-4)
Casemiro thinks he should have a free-kick on the edge of the box after falling following a City challenge.
The ref wags his finger at him like he’s a naughty child.
Soon after Casemiro is in the box, challenging with Aymeric Laporte and is again furious when what should be a corner for a flick off the City defender is given as a goal kick.
41 Straight down the other end…
Vinicius Junior is tackled by Kyle Walker to give Real another corner.
28′ The corner that came from the free-kick is headed away by Kyle Walker, who gets clattered too.
He is down needing treatment. It also gives City a breather. Not that the Real fans are in any way sympathetic.
20′ Big chance! City’s first real one of the game.
A mistake by Eder Militao is nearly punished as Bernardo Silva is found in the box for an angled shot that Thibaut Courtois does superbly to push away.
16’Joao Cancelo to the rescue. He steps out of defence at the perfect time to intercept a pass from Vinicius Junior that would have released Karim Benzema in the box.
15′ Real Madrid 0-0 Man City (agg: 3-4)
Fierce! Kevin de Bruyne cuts inside after being found by Phil Foden. He unleashes a rising shot that is travelling but only straight at Thibaut Courtois.
12′ Another sniff for Benzema! Fede Valverde fires in a low cross that he hits first time but gets under to send over the bar.
10′ It is a City free-kick, and Riyad Mahrez hits it… straight to Thibaut Courtois.
9′ YELLOW CARDS!
It’s boiling over now! Aymeric Laporte is holding his neck on the ground as players shove each other around him. The City centre-back has gone down very easily there.
The brief melee earns Luka Modric and Laporte a yellow card.
7′ Chance for Real Madrid! Carvajal is given a lot of space and crosses the ball into the box. Benzema gets to it first but heads it over the bar.
6′ Manchester City win their first corner of the evening but Ruben Dias couldn’t get on to it and Real Madrid cleared it.
1′Real Madrid earn their first free-kick of the evening at Vinicius broke down the left. It was Kyle Walker who kept up with him. However, he gave away a soft foul. Nevertheless, it was easily cleared my Manchester City.
Just like that… we are underway! The atmosphere is electric. We are in for a good evening of football…
Just over 10 minutes to go until kick-off! Here’s a reminder of the teams…
Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Eder Militao, Nacho, Mendy, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Junior.
Subs: Alaba, Vallejo, Asensio, Marcelo, Lunin, Jovic, Lucas, Ceballos, Rodrygo, Mariano, Camavinga, Fuidias.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Foden.
Subs: Ake, Sterling, Gundogan, Grealish, Zinchenko, Steffen, Fernandinho, Carson, Egan-Riley, Palmer, McAtee, Lavia.
Referee: Daniele Orsato (Italy).
Start as you mean to go on and all that…
👀Lescott loves Benzema
‘Benzema is one of my favourite players of all time. Selfless, his work for the team, his willingness to play out wide and sacrifice himself when Ronaldo was here… in front of goal he’s an exceptional talent. He’s matured and there’s a belief he will score goals.’
👀Sergio Aguero says Manchester City must not be complacent
He said speaking as a Stake.com global representative: ‘Real Madrid have already beaten PSG and Chelsea to get here in the Champions League, and they are two of the best teams – the Champions League winner from last year and the best team in France with Lionel Messi and so many stars.
‘City know this and have to have 100% focus on the match and not think they have won until the final whistle because Real Madrid fights until the end, they will want to win and City can’t think the job is done.
‘I don’t think Manchester City will play in a different way to normal for the match in Madrid. This team is so good because there is a lot of talented players and a lot of them have played for Guardiola for a long time and know exactly what they need to do – there is only one way of playing and everybody understands that.
‘Maybe the formation or people on the pitch change but they all work towards the same goal of winning and making it a hard game for Real Madrid.
👀Carlo Ancelotti says Real Madrid will go for it
‘If we try to defend with a low block, with 10 men in our box, City will have 99 shots on target,’ Ancelotti said.
‘Sometimes you need to take risks and we were very successful this season when risking because we have a lot of quality up front.
‘It will be a clash of two very different teams, two teams with different qualities, collective and individual.
‘But we’ll have home advantage and we’ll be aggressive as always. We have a quality up front that gives us the luxury to be daring on offence.’
👀Luka Modric is confident
He said: ‘Of course, we’re very confident we can fight back and advance. We did not play well in the first leg and even so we scored three goals.
‘The history of this club, winning this competition 13 times, will play a major part. It influences our mentality a lot because you believe you can achieve anything wearing these colours.’
It’s all to play for and the stage is set!
👀Manchester City have also matured…
Manchester City have progressed in nine of the previous 10 UEFA Champions League two-legged knockout ties when they’ve won the first leg, only failing in the Last 16 vs Monaco in 2016-17 (5-3 first leg, 1-3 second leg) – according to Opta.
👀However… City hold the advantage
Manchester City have won their last three UEFA Champions League matches against Real Madrid; only two sides have ever won four in a row against them in European competition, with Ajax doing so between 1973 and 1995 and Bayern Munich between 2000 and 2002 – according to Opta.
Real Madrid Line-ups:
XI | Courtois, Carvajal, E. Militao, Nacho, Kroos, Benzema, Modric, Casemiro, Valverde, Vini Jr., F. Mendy
SUBS | Lunin, Fuidias, Alaba, Vallejo, Asensio, Marcelo, Jovic, Lucas V., D. Ceballos, Rodrygo, Mariano, Camavinga
No David Alaba which comes as a blow to Real Madrid. Nacho has been brought in to replace him while Casemiro has also been named in the starting XI for the LaLiga giants.
Manchester City confirm their starting XI
XI | Ederson, Walker, Dias (C), Laporte, Cancelo, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Mahrez, Jesus, Foden
SUBS | Steffen, Carson, Ake, Sterling, Gundogan, Grealish, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Egan-Riley, Palmer, McAtee, Lavia
Kyle Walker has returned to the starting XI for Manchester City. This will provide Pep Guardiola’s side with an additional boost this evening.
Who do Liverpool want to face in the final?
Mo Salah said: ‘I want to play Madrid, I have to be honest. City’s a really tough team, we play against them a few times this season. If you ask me personally I would prefer Madrid.
‘Because we lost in the final before against them. So I want to play against them, hopefully win it against them as well.’
Trent Alexander-Arnold said: ‘It’s nice to get the job done on a Tuesday, we can watch the game tomorrow knowing we’ll be in the final and playing one of them. I’m sure it’ll be a good game.
‘I think if it goes anything like last week we’re in for another amazing game. Either opponent deserves to get to the final so it’s exciting to see who we’ll get.’
Jurgen Klopp: ‘I will watch it! Whoever it will be, deserves it massively. It’s not that I would wish for one or the other, it will be massive. Whoever gets the result will deserve it and then we face each other in Paris.’
What happened during Manchester City’s first leg with Real Madrid?
If you missed the first leg… then shame on you. It was one of the best games of football we have witnessed in a long time.
Manchester City walked away from the game victorious- having won 4-3. But, it was a rollercoaster of emotions.
Kevin de Bruyne gave City the early lead and Gabriel Jesus added to their tally – putting them 2-0 up after 11 minutes.
However, Karim Benzema pulled one back for Real Madrid after 33 minutes of action.
Phil Foden went on to extend City’s advantage to 3-1 after the break but Vinicius Jr to scored two minutes later.
Bernardo Silva then added City’s final goal before Benzema scored a sensational penalty.
As a result, the game ended 4-3 in favour of Manchester City.
Liverpool secured their place in the final last night
Liverpool got the job done last night against Villarreal. However, did 2-0 down during the first half of the game after Boulaye Dia and Francis Coquelin found the back of the net for the hosts.
Nevertheless, they managed to turn their form around after the break and went on to win the game 3-2 thanks to goals from Fabinho, Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane.