Rodrygo was the hero for Real Madrid with two late goals to lead the Spanish giants to the Champions League final at the expense of Man City. fake images
MADRID – Manchester City and Real Madrid continued Tuesday night’s drama between Villarreal and Liverpool with an excellent show of their own, with City just minutes from reaching the final. Rodrigo scored extra-time goals to send into extra time, 5-5 on aggregate, with Karim Benzema scoring from a penalty to send the Spanish and LaLiga giants to the final in Paris on May 28.
Here are three quick ideas for an awesome, awesome, awesome game.
1. Real Madrid had another great escape
Real Madrid will face Liverpool in the Champions League final after a hectic night at the Bernabéu in which Manchester City came within minutes of advancing to Paris.
City were poised to book their place in Paris next Riad Mahrez ‘s second-half goal gave them a two-goal lead on aggregate, but substitute Rodrigo scored twice in two minutes in injury time and imposed extra time.
Karim Benzema, who had kept quiet until then, scored the decisive goal in the first part of extra time from the penalty spot to make it 3-1 last night and 6-5 on aggregate.
City dominated most of the night until the last full-back returned to Real Madrid and could have extended their lead before Rodrygo’s first goal if Jack Grealish (the second-half substitute) converted one of two chances. Instead, Real Madrid, crowned champions of Spain on Saturday, will have a chance to win their 14th Champions League title when they take on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool on May 28 in a repeat of the 2018 final.
City, meanwhile, regret having had a golden opportunity to reach their second successive final and, having been a treble challenger at one point, they must now contend for the Premier League.
2. Real Madrid comes back from nowhere
Shortly after Mahrez’s 1-0 win at City, Real Madrid fans began to leave the Bernabeu, but those who didn’t want to probably didn’t.
The Spanish team seemed set for a fairly modest outing, even for some incredible injury-time drama. Real Madrid failed to get a shot on target in the first 90 minutes, but six minutes into stoppage time, City were on hold and needed to. Ederson Make a good save to keep his team from going off in dramatic fashion.
With Real Madrid needing two goals to force extra time, Rodrygo, off the bench in the 68th minute, scored what looked like a consolation off Karim Benzema’s cross in the 90th minute but less than 60 seconds later, he headed in another to make it 2. -1 at night and 5-5 in total. The goal was about to raise the roof at the Bernabéu but there was still plenty of time for Rodrygo to score again and almost ended the tie in regulation time, with a penalty from Benzema in extra time to sentence the brilliant comeback.
(And in all of that, a special note on Rodrygo: Having scored four goals in 79 games this season, he has scored six in his last six, and none of those goals were as decisive as the ones he scored on Wednesday night. He also made history, as Rodrygo was the first player in tournament history to score two goals after the 90th minute of a knockout match).
Real Madrid made a great comeback against PSG and Chelsea to reach the semi-finals, but that was the best.
3. Man City suffers another setback in the Champions League
After the setbacks against Monaco, Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon, City seemed to have put an end to their moments of madness in the Champions League, but now they have another to add to the list. This may actually be on top of all of them.
Their path to last season’s final was uneventful and they were quietly dispatched to Sporting Lisbon and Atletico Madrid this year on their way to the semi-finals, but when the pressure was high at the Bernabeu they collapsed. They had a two-goal lead when Mahrez scored, and even when he scored Rodrygo’s first goal, there was no need to panic. But instead, City asked for more pressure, lost their minds and paid a heavy price. They were so lucky that the tie went into overtime after Ederson called another save before the end of stoppage time.
It is a result that will generate more questions about Guardiola and the Champions League. Although there are great teams at both Bayern Munich and City, he hasn’t lifted the trophy since his time at Barcelona. For a manager of his caliber and someone used to collecting domestic trophies wherever he goes, it remains a strange anomaly that he hasn’t won Europe’s top club competition in over a decade.