Fernando’s own goal proved the difference as Real Madrid booked their place in the Champions League final with a 1-0 aggregate victory over Manchester City at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night.
- Real Madrid 1 Man City 0
- First leg ended goalless
- Citizens lose Kompany to injury early on
- Fernando own goal hands Real the lead on 20 mins
- Fernandinho shot hits the post
- Bale’s second-half header comes back off the bar
- Real Madrid progress 1-0 on aggregate
- Real to face local rivals Atletico in the final
Heading into the clash following a goalless draw in the first leg, Real would have been acutely aware of the fact that an away goal for the Citizens would give Manuel Pellegrini’s men a massive advantage.
However, the hosts appeared to play without fear and could have easily scored three or four goals in a one-sided encounter.
Following Vincent Kompany’s injury-enforced departure early on, Real claimed the lead in the 20th minute when Gareth Bale’s cross-cum-shot was deflected in off the post by Fernando.
And City never recovered from the early setback as a rampant Los Blancos eased to what would turn out to be a fairly comfortable victory at the Bernabeu.
The hosts started the match on the front foot and went close to claiming the lead after just five minutes of play as Bale headed wide of the left-hand post following Pepe’s flicked header in the danger area.
The Citizens were dealt a massive blow in the ninth minute of play, however, when skipper Vincent Kompany had to be substituted after suffering an injury, with Eliaquim Mangala coming on to replace the Belgian.
The visitors seemingly never recovered from that early setback as Real redoubled their efforts in a bid to claim an early goal.
Real very nearly did just that in the 13th minute, with the fit-again Cristiano Ronaldo heading high and wide following Daniel Carvajal’s inviting cross into the danger area.
However, the Spanish giants didn’t have to wait long for the opener as Fernando deflected Bale’s goal attempt over City keeper Joe Hart and in off the far post.
The Citizens had a great chance to level the scores just two minutes later, but Fernando was unable to find the target as he sent his headed effort over the bar from Kevin De Bruyne’s pinpoint corner kick.
Real hit back with a chance of their own just two minutes later, but Ronaldo flashed a left-footed shot over the bar after latching onto a neat pass from Isco.
Following a lengthy lull in play, the match sprang to life again when Bale forced City keeper Joe Hart into action on 43 minutes with a shot from range.
And the home support breathed a huge sigh of relief one minute later as Citizens midfielder Fernandinho saw his stinging shot crash against the left-hand post.
Despite the cagey nature of the encounter, there was plenty more action to come after the half-time break, with Real enjoying the better chances in the opening exchanges.
Ronaldo should have scored in the 50th minute after latching onto a through ball from Bale, but the Portugal international saw his goal-bound shot saved in the bottom-right corner by Hart.
City hit back almost immediately, but Kevin De Bruyne was denied by Real keeper Keylor Navas, while the hosts again went close just moments later as Jese fired over the bar from the right-hand side of the box.
Los Blancos began to turn the screws as Luka Modric again forced Hart into action in the 52nd minute, before Ronaldo saw his header from the centre of the penalty area kept out by the England international gloveman.
And it was all one-way traffic from that point on as the Citizens failed to contain a rampant Real outfit.
Ronaldo, seeking to add to his 16 goals in the Champions League this season, again went close to adding his name to the scoresheet in the 59th minute as Hart again came to the visitors’ rescue, before Bale struck the bar with a header from the centre of the box.
City went in siege mode after seeing Bale go so close to netting the second of the evening, and managed to slow the advance of Real as they looked to hit their opponents on the break.
They eventually got the chance to draw level from a free-kick in the 84th minute, but De Bruyne fired just wide of the left-hand post as his shot flew into the side-netting.
Knowing that an equaliser would be enough to see them through to the final on the away-goals rule, City redoubled their efforts in the closing stages.
Sergio Aguero, who had been virtually anonymous for much of the match, eventually lodged his first effort on goal in the 89th minute. However, the Argentina international failed to direct his shot on target, firing just over from inside the danger area.
And that was the last chance of note as Real rode out the remaining minutes to clinch a narrow victory and a place in the final with cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid – a repeat of the 2014 final.