Real Madrid Hold Bayern to Reach Third Successive Final


Holders Real Madrid reached the UEFA Champions League final for a third year in a row after taking advantage of Bayern Munich’s carelessness in attack and defence to draw 2-2 in their semi-final second leg last night, winning 4-3 on aggregate.

Bayern defender Joshua Kimmich put them in front in the third minute but Karim Benzema levelled with a free header in the 11th and a goalkeeping howler from Bayern’s Sven Ulreich allowed Benzema to tap in Madrid’s second at the start of the second half.

James Rodriguez, on loan from Madrid, hit a deserved equaliser for Bayern in the 63rd to set up a gripping finale but despite waves of pressure from the visitors, the Spaniards clung on, becoming the first team since Juventus in 1998 to reach the final for three years in succession.

They will meet either Liverpool or AS Roma in the final in Kiev on May 26, where they will be bidding to become the first side since Bayern in 1976 to win the competition three years in a row.

Meanwhile, AS Roma Coach Eusebio Di Francesco has said that his team must aim for a “miracle” against Liverpool with the Italian club trailing 5-2 ahead of tonight’s Champions League semifinal second leg.

Roma came back from a 4-1 deficit in their quarter-final against Barcelona by winning the return leg in the Italian capital 3-0.

“We must have belief and with this mentality, with these fans and this passion around the team, try to perform another miracle – and saying miracle is perfectly fine,” Di Francesco told reporters yesterday.

“Liverpool are really dangerous and they can hurt you as soon as you give them an inch. I want to clarify one thing — in a Champions League semifinal in front of 70 000 people, do you expect a team just to yield?” queried the Roma coach last night.