Madrid’s miracle men survive German siege

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 May 2018 12:19:35



LAST time, it was a late penalty. This time, a goalkeeping blunder.Real Madrid keeps finding ways to get out of trouble in the Champions League.Madrid conceded early again at home and barely held on for a draw 2-2 against Bayern in Wednesday’s semi-final match, advancing 4-3 on aggregate to stay on track for a third consecutive European title.But with Cristiano Ronaldo held scoreless for the second time in as many games, Madrid needed a blunder from Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich to gift them their second—and crucial—goal on the night.

“It’s a Champions League semi-final. You will always suffer,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said.“Nothing is easy. Football is like that, you have to suffer. And when you win, it feels even better, although it’s not too good for your heart.”Joshua Kimmich scored for Bayern in the third minute to set the stage for another comeback at the Santiago Bernabeu, like the one Juventus nearly pulled off in the quarter-finals before Ronaldo converted an injury-time penalty.But the hosts reacted quicker this time, with Karim Benzema equalising early in the first-half and scoring again just after half-time after an embarrassing mistake by Ulreich when he allowed a back pass into the area to go underneath him.

Bayern went within a goal of eliminating the European champions when former Madrid player James Rodriguez scored in the 63rd, and it pressured the hosts until the end, but it was not enough to avoid a third straight elimination against the Spanish club.“We were the best team in both games but we were not able to reach the final,” Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said.“We dominated. They should thank (goalkeeper Keylor) Navas for his performance, especially toward the end of the match.”
The German club, which has now been knocked out in the Champions League semi-finals in four of the last five seasons, had several good chances in the final minutes
but was unable to capitalise.

By successfully defending its 2-1 win from last week, Madrid stayed on track for a third consecutive European title, and fourth in five seasons.Europe’s most successful club with 12 trophies, Madrid will play the final against either Liverpool or Roma, which were playing Thursday in Italy. Liverpool won the first leg 5-2 at home.“It was a crazy match,” Zidane said.“We struggled in the beginning, conceding early and not being able to play our game. But it was a lot better in the second half. We pressed up front and got the second goal.”

Bayern keeper Ulreich ‘sorry’ for blunderBAYERN Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich apologised after his costly mistake led to the Germans bowing out of the Champions League’s semi-finals.With the scores level just after the break in Tuesday’s second-leg, Ulreich’s blunder gifted Karim Benzema his second goal and Real the lead.Ulreich somehow missed a back-pass from Corentin Tolisso, leaving Benzema to tap into an empty net.Bayern fought back from the blow but fell short. James Rodriguez equalised, but the game finished 2-2 and Real Madrid advanced 4-3 on aggregate. The German giants lost to Spanish opposition in the knock-out phase for the fifth year in a row.

“Words can not describe how disappointed I am about exiting the Champions League,” wrote Ulreich on his Instagram page.“We really wanted to go to the final, we did our best and then this unnecessary mistake happened—I cannot explain it.“I’m sorry... For my team and for you fans.” Ulreich has been Bayern’s first-choice goalkeeper since Germany’s captain Manuel Neuer was injured last September.