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Having fought back from the brink of elimination, Real Madrid made a great attempt to beat Man City 3-1 after extra time and 6-5 on aggregate on Wednesday.

Real succeeded in booking their place in the Champions League final.

Real Madrid

Real seemed to be decadent during the third knockout tie in a row. Real is known to have become accustomed to improbable heroics, but their late Wednesday show to secure a 3-1 victory over Man City was cutting it fine.

Man City led 1-0 on the night and 5-3 on aggregate as Mahrez scored after 73 minutes, which had seemingly booked his club passage through to the Champions League final in Paris. However, substitute Rodrygo’s two goals of the 90-minute leveled the tie at 5-5 and sent the match to extra time.

On the third minute of the extra time, after having been fouled by Ruben Dias inside the box, Karim Benzema made no mistake dispatching the penalty to secure Real’s 6-5 aggregate victory.

Although Carlo Ancelotti’s team has been on the verge of elimination for three successive rounds, now, somehow, they have their chance to win a record-extending 14th title when taking on Liverpool in Paris on May 28.

This also means that Ancelotti will be the only man to have ever reached the Champions League final as a manager for five times. 

Real is out from the hole

Real is out from the hole

It took less than eight minutes for the first temper to flare, when Aymeric Laporte and Luka Modric received yellow cards due to taking part in a scuffle after Casemiro’s poor tackle on De Bruyne. Meanwhile, Casemiro managed to avoid a booking for the foul.

Just some minutes later, Benzema well connected with Federico Valverde’s low cross. However, the Frenchman was unable to trouble Ederson in the Man City goal.

The match was cagier than the electrifying first leg last week. City knew Real would try to level the tie and was content with allowing Carlo Ancelotti’s side more possession than it did in the Etihad one week ago.

Although Real twice gifted City the ball in dangerous positions and sometimes seemed unsure how to build its attacks, they had Thibaut Courtois to save them from De Bruyne and then Bernardo Silva.

Real were doing their best to disrupt the opponent’s slick attacking moves, especially Casemiro, who was again responsible for another cynical foul. The Brazilian kicked Phil Foden in the back of his legs after having hauled him to the ground by the scruff of his neck.

However, one more time, the referee inexplicably failed to produce a yellow card.

The magic in Bernabeu

After the first leg, people talked most about City’s inability to put the tie to bed, since the team allowed Real route back into the game time and again.

Although the present Real may not be at the level of their previous iterations, it is still a daunting task to head to the Bernabeu with just a one-goal advantage. There is just something like “magic” that hangs in the air on that night in this stadium.

Real had spectacular comebacks twice in recent ties, against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in the quarterfinals.

All Real fans needs is just a few moments to get behind their team and push them to heights they perhaps doubted they could reach.

And “magic” is the word that could make this crowd feel most accurately on the Champions League nights. In matches such as these against Man City, when nerves may sometimes take hold of players of both sides, those magical moments can decide the tie.

Maybe, Real thought it could find such a moment inside the first minutes of the second half, but Vinicius Jr. couldn’t direct Dani Carvajal’s immaculate low cross towards goal.

Since Kyle Walker was out of position in the first leg due to injury, Vinicius was able to find so much space at the far post. Fernandinho, Walker’s makeshift replacement, was terrorized by Vinicius all evening.

Walker rushed back in time for the second leg since Man City clearly knew he was its best option to combat Vinicus’ blistering pace. However, the injury eventually forced Walker off, even though the City medical staff made numerous attempts to save his night.

Oleksandr Zinchenko came in his place, and, somewhat surprisingly, Pep Guardiola also brought on Ilkay Gundogan in place of Kevin De Bruyne. It took less than a minute for Guardiola’s double substitution to make an impact.

Zinchenko and Gundogan cooperated to find Silva heading towards the Real goal and his sideways pass found the onrushing Mahrez, who thundered the first shot past Courtois into the top corner.

In the last minutes of the match, substitute Jack Grealish twice came close to doubling Man City’s lead in the game and booking his team’s place in the Champions League final.

However, just when fan started to unbeliever in “magic”, Real once again proved the contradiction.

Two quick goals from substitute Rodrygo either side of the 90-minute mark made a previously silent Bernabeu burst into flames.

Just seconds ago, Real was a side that had looked so down and out with much of the stadium having started to empty. But now, Real was looking the most likely to win.

As the Real onslaught kept going on, City was likely even thankful to hear the full-time whistle.

However, they were able to relax just a few moments before the bombardment restarted with the extra tie. This time, it took just three minutes for Real to take the lead in this game for the first time.

It was only a matter of time till Real gave out the killer blow which came when Dias’ rash challenge in the box brought down Benzema and the Frenchman sent a precise spot-kick into the bottom right corner.

And what happens, happens. A shocked Man City never looked like that it would be able to gain enough composure to find its way back into the tie.

It seems that nobody can find any way to stop what happens at the Bernabeu, especially with Guardiola’s meticulous preparation and tactical tinkering. And nobody can find any way to halt Real’s “magic.”