Real Madrid edge City to set up derby vs. Atletico in UCL final
Real Madrid ground out a convincing 1-0 victory over Manchester City on Wednesday to line up a Champions League final against city rival Atletico Madrid.
The second leg of the semifinal was decided by a superb shot by Gareth Bale from a tight angle that deflected off defender Fernando in the 20th minute and was marked down as an own goal. Madrid advanced with a 1-0 aggregate win after a scoreless first-leg draw in England last week.
Real Madrid will be trying to win its 11th Champions League title in the all-Spanish showdown in Milan on May 28, a rematch of the 2014 final -- when it beat Atletico 4-1 after extra time.
"We will give everything in our souls in another final," Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos said. "We managed to stay united and soak up the pressure to try and pull it off. We've eliminated a huge team in City. It has taken a lot to get to the final, but we deserve it."
Wednesday's win ended City's best ever participation in the Champions League, though it was outclassed on the night and never really looked like turning the game around. The wealthy English club hadn't made it past the round of 16 until this season's campaign.
Atletico eliminated five-time champion Bayern Munich in the other semifinal on Tuesday.
After failing to win in Manchester, where Madrid played without Cristiano Ronaldo because of an injury, Manuel Pellegrini's City faced a difficult task at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. The hosts had a perfect record in this season's competition, winning all six home games and outscoring opponents 19-0.
Madrid pushed forward from the start and it didn't take long before it opened the scoring after a perfect pass by Dani Carvajal to Bale into the area.
The Wales forward turned and sent a high shot that struck the far post before going in, with the ball deflecting just enough off Fernando to curl toward the goal.
Bale, who has scored four goals in the last five games, also hit the woodwork with a header in the 63rd.
Madrid had a goal disallowed because defender Pepe was offside in the 36th, and Ronaldo squandered a few good opportunities to put the game out of reach. The Portugal forward remains a goal shy of matching his own record of 17 goals in a single edition of the tournament.
An away goal would have turned things City's way, and the English club almost got it when Fernandinho's low shot from inside the area grazed the near post in the 44th.
City tried to take control in the second half, but Madrid still that had the best opportunities.
"I am disappointed because I think that was a very close game," Pellegrini said.
The hosts had incredible chance to add to the lead in the 52nd, when Luka Modric found himself unmarked in front of the goal, but his shot was parried by City goalkeeper Joe Hart.
"We just did not have that little bit more," Hart said. "We could easily be in the final, but they managed the game well. They got a very lucky goal, but it is what it is."
City's only clear chance after halftime came from a long-range shot by Sergio Aguero in the 89th, but it sailed just over the crossbar.
City lost captain Vincent Kompany with an apparent muscle injury less than 10 minutes into the match, the latest injury to plague the defender this season.
The Premier League side was missing playmaker David Silva, but midfielder Yaya Toure recovered from a muscle injury and was in the starting lineup.
Madrid was without France striker Karim Benzema and Brazilian defensive midfielder Casemiro, also because of injuries.