Real Madrid 3-1 Manchester City (agg 6-5)
Rodrygo and Benzema pull off remarkable comeback
London, UK | THE INDEPENDENT | Trailing Manchester City 5-3 on aggregate with 90 minutes on the clock, Real Madrid went on to complete a remarkable comeback in extra time and reach their 17th European Cup final.
So often backed into a corner in this season’s UEFA Champions League, Real Madrid will play Liverpool in the final after escaping from their tightest spot of all to beat Manchester City 3-1 on the night and 6-5 on aggregate.
Match in brief: Rodrygo turns tie on its head
City were tactically smart in keeping Madrid at arm’s length for much of this game, denying them even a single shot on target for 89 minutes. So when Riyad Mahrez’s first-time effort beat Thibaut Courtois at his near post, it looked to be not only the seal on a devastating counterattack but the rubber-stamp on a classic away performance and the decisive goal in the tie.
Though Jack Grealish twice went agonisingly close to hammering in the final nail with just three minutes left – Ferland Mendy and Courtois to Madrid’s rescue – few could have predicted what was to follow.
First, with 90 minutes on the clock, Rodrygo beat Ederson to Karim Benzema’s cutback to give the hosts hope, but time was still against them. Or so it seemed. Just a minute later, the substitute headed in Dani Carvajal’s cross to make it 5-5 on aggregate – and even then, Ederson was required to deny Rodrygo the unlikeliest of hat-tricks and force extra time.
Just five minutes into the first period, Karim Benzema dusted himself down from a Rúben Dias foul to convert from the spot and complete a remarkable turnaround. Courtois was then on hand to keep out Phil Foden’s header to ensure no further twists.