UEFA CL: Real hold off Bayern to reach third straight Champions League final

EPA-EFE/RODRIGO JIMENEZ

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Holders Real Madrid reached the UEFA Champions League final for the fourth time in five years after Karim Benzema scored twice to earn Zinedine Zidane’s team a 4-3 aggregate victory against Bayern Munich. 

Bayern right back Joshua Kimmich put the visitors ahead after only three minutes, but Benzema levelled with a header eight minutes later.

Hosts then capitalized on yet another Bayern’s defensive blunder: Corentin Tolisso played the back-pass and goalkeeper Sven Ulreich froze, trying to pick it up before realizing he could not and basically just falling down, allowing Benzema to put the hosts ahead seconds after the break.

James Rodriguez, Colombian winger on loan at Bayern from Madrid, drilled past Keylor Navas at the second attempt to revive Bayern hopes in the 63rd minute, but Real held on to become the first team since Juventus in 1998 to reach the final for three years in a row.

CL Real Bayern3

The Bavarians, on the other hand, have only themselves to blame, as they missed a number of clear-cut chances over the two legs, and 39 shots on goal proved less decisive than a couple of mistakes on the other end of the pitch.  

They will also have something to say about Turkish referee Cüneyt Çakır, who denied Bayern two penalties at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Marcelo handled Joshua Kimmich’s cross inside the box seconds before the half-time, while Sergio Ramos fouled Robert Lewandowski deep inside the penalty area seven minutes into the second half.  

Real Madrid will meet either Liverpool or AS Roma in the final in Kiev on May 26. Liverpool won the first leg, 5-2.