Champions League: Madrid, Madrid again | Soccer | Sports

Well yes. Real Madrid again. Once again the dead man who rises from the other world in the midst of the collective delirium of the Bernabéu. The Champions League comeback nights of 2022 were not only impossible then, they were also impossible to replicate. Except, it seems, for Madrid, which after a dominant game found itself behind on the scoreboard and with Bayern, the old European leader, a legendary competitive beast sleeping the night. It didn’t matter that they had Tüchel on the bench, who had already been in one like that two years ago with Chelsea. This magical destination in Madrid is unavoidable, even if you see it coming, even if you know it. It doesn’t matter if it’s with Rodrygo, with Benzema, or with Joselu. This time it was the night of the one on loan from Espanyol after being relegated, who arrived in place of the desired Kane. And Joselu, when Kane had just retired to the bench, believing that everything was done, caught two and sent Madrid to the 18th European Cup final in their history, the sixth in the last eleven years, where Borussia Dortmund awaits them. June 1.


Andriy Lunin, Nacho, Dani Carvajal, Rüdiger, Ferland Mendy, Aurelien Tchouameni (Camavinga, min. 69), Federico Valverde (Joselu, min. 80), Kroos (Modric, min. 69), Jude Bellingham (Eder Militao, min. 99), Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo (Brahim Diaz, min. 80)



Neuer, Joshua Kimmich, Matthijs de Ligt, Noussair Mazraoui, Eric Dier, Laimer, Gnabry (Alphonso Davies, min. 27), Sane (Kim Min-Jae, min. 76), Jamal Musiala (Müller, min. 84), Aleksandar Pavlovic and Kane (Choupo-Moting, min. 84)

Goals 0-1 min. 67: Alphonso Davies. 1-1 min. 87: Joselu. 2-1 min. 90: Joselu.

Referee Szymon Marciniak

Yellow cards Tuchel (min. 97) and Camavinga (min. 100)

Madrid won in the end, as if only at the limit did it finally tune in, as if only there did it see its rival sufficiently disconcerted. But he appeared from the beginning. At 16 seconds, Vinicius, a total agitator, had already stolen a ball, had made a run to the baseline, had forced a corner and had ignited the stands by raising his arms. Real exhibited the intensity that Ancelotti had demanded of them. He took control of the duel from the beginning, determining where it was going to be played, and where Bayern could set up. Vinicius, Rodrygo and Bellingham went high up to steal, with their backs covered by Valverde and Tchouameni, who patrolled the middle earth without a crumb escaping.

Ancelotti’s team stole and played. He played and found Vinicius, who seemed to want to devour every moment. He asked for all the balls, squeezed out all the runs. Although the most incisive weapon was Carvajal. The first ball he crossed was almost touched by Rodrygo as he crossed the area from side to side. He then found Vinicius inside the area with a pipe. The Brazilian turned and shot at the post. The rebound fell to Rodrygo, who tried again, but Neuer prevented the goal from the ground.

Madrid had reduced Bayern with a dose of defensive intensity and another from Toni Kroos. The German directed the operations from his platform tilted to the left, and the party swayed towards where he dictated. A little to the left where Vinicius, Rodrygo, Bellingham and Mendy met. And when that area got stuck, with the Englishman very harassed when he received from his back, Kroos raised his chin to the other side, aimed and hit the chest of Carvajal, or Valverde.

Tüchel’s team had few breaks with the ball. When I tried to rest with him. He was more damaging when he did not chew the game and Sané and Gnabry appeared flying on the wings, launched by Harry Kane, who dropped away from Nacho’s good marking. After half an hour Gnabry retired injured and his place on the left wing, ahead of Mazraoui, was taken by Alphonso Davies, a racing car.

All this happened supported by a delicate balance in which nothing decisive happened. But the calm did not satisfy Vinicius, who made a counterintuitive move: he retreated to the wing and unleashed the avalanche. He moved away from Dier, who had read his footwork well in the first half, and faced Kimmich. Bayern retreated and the Brazilian crossed lines as if they were ghosts. He floated. But he didn’t finish biting. Valverde narrowly missed a back pass, and Neuer cleared a shot from the Brazilian who had just beaten three opponents. Vinicius played with Kimmich, with his teammates and with the stands. The show was his.

Bayern barely found respite, but suddenly it was Madrid in the first leg. Kane went back to assist on an exit, gained a puff, enough for Davies to appear, and then threw the Canadian into space. He cut Rüdiger inside and landed a right foot out of Lunin’s reach. Ancelotti brought in Modric, Camavinga, Brahim and Joselu. Tüchel removed Sané, an attacker, and introduced Kim, a defender.

Antonio Ridiger, Carlo Ancelotti and Vinicius Junior celebrate reaching the Champions League final this Wednesday.
Antonio Ridiger, Carlo Ancelotti and Vinicius Junior celebrate reaching the Champions League final this Wednesday. Susana Vera (REUTERS)

The stadium, with the memory of the incredible nights of 2022, turned on the emotional mixer, but the Germans hindered the rhythm with falls, cramps, and slow withdrawals.

But Vinicius had not come to see how the possibility of another final was receding on the horizon. A desperate shot was taken, as if he scared the ball away, to the center of the goal, into Neuer’s hands, something simple. It slipped away and Joselu pushed for the tie. And after three minutes he pushed a pass from Rüdiger. It had happened again. Yeah.

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