Real Madrid produced a stunning last-gasp comeback to beat Manchester City and set up a Champions League final with Liverpool.
Pep Guardiola’s team led 4-3 from the first leg and looked in total control when Riyad Mahrez put them 1-0 up on the night, in the 73rd minute.
Manchester City withdrew attacking stars Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus in a bid to defend their two-goal cushion.
But it was one of Madrid’s substitutes that then turned the tie on its head.
Brazilian Rodrygo netted in the 90th minute and then again a minute later to send the match — tied at 5-5 on aggregate — into extra time.
Then when Karim Benzema fell in the penalty area under the challenge of Ruben Dias early in extra time, the referee awarded a spot kick. Real’s prolific striker, who has been in stunning form for the Spanish champions, scored into the bottom right-hand corner.
Many Real Madrid fans had given up hope
With Manchester City leading 1-0 on the night, the “Si se puede! (Yes we can!)” chants gradually faded at the Santiago Bernabéu.
With the match seemingly drawing to a disappointing end for Real, some of their supporters began heading for the exits. It seemed that there would be no magical night at the Bernabéu for the 13-time European champions this time.
“I didn’t think we could do it again because we were struggling,” Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said. “We had already eliminated some top teams that spent a lot of money to try to win a Champions League, but today it was more impressive, happening in the final minutes.”
Real Madrid had already pulled off thrilling comebacks at the Bernabéu against Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 and Chelsea in the quarter-finals.
“I cannot say we are used to living this kind of life, but what happened tonight happened against Chelsea and also against Paris,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “If you have to say why it is the history of this club that helps us to keep going when it seems that we are gone.”
By doing it again against City, Madrid booked a spot in the 28 May final in Paris against Liverpool, who advanced after defeating Villarreal on Tuesday. Madrid defeated Liverpool in the 2018 final when the Spanish powerhouse clinched its record-extending 13th title.
“We have a score to settle,” Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah said on Twitter after Madrid’s win.