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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE- ROUTE TO THE FINAL- REAL MADRID

  • by admin
  • May 21, 2018
  • Hits: 60
  • 0

Real Madrid has shown their enduring class in the Champions League this season, knocking no fewer than three league title winners on route to the final. Ahead of the Champions League final in Kiev on the 26th of May we have decided to look at Los Blanco’s route to the final. 

 

Group Stages

Having lifted their second consecutive Champions League crown last season, Real qualified automatically and where handed a difficult looking group H facing the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham Hotspur and Apoel Nicosia. Los Blancos started their campaign well and picked up a 3-0 home win against Apoel in the first round of matches. Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed a brace whilst captain Sergio Ramos sealed the comfortable victory. 

Zidane’s side impressed again in the second set of games heading to an inform Borussia Dortmund side and coming away with all three points. Welsh winger Gareth Bale opened the scoring with a spectacular strike 18 minutes into the contest. Ronaldo doubled Los Blancos lead minutes into the second half before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cut the deficit. Ronaldo again got on the scoresheet with ten minutes to spare to give Madrid the 3-1 victory. 

Up next for Real was a doubleheader of games against Tottenham Hotspur, which proved to be some of the trickiest ties for the twelve time European Cup winners in this seasons competition. The first tie at the Santiago Bernebau was a tight affair, with Spurs taking the lead courtesy of a Rafa Varane own goal. Ronaldo again hit back for Real from the penalty (that was his fifth goal in three group games) to ensure an undefeated start to the group. 

Whilst the second game at Wembley proved to be a game to forget. Spurs started the stronger and grabbed an early goal through Dele Alli. Despite bossing possession, and keeping the ball well Madrid looked limp against Tottenham who scored two goals in the second half thanks to Alli and Eriksen to go 3-0 up. Ronaldo scored a late consolation as Los Blancos fell to a 3-1 defeat. 

A big 6-0 away win to Apoel got Real moving in the right direction. Again, Ronaldo found himself on the scoresheet twice as Los Blancos confirmed a place in the knockout rounds. Whilst the final game of the group stages saw Real run out 3-2 winners against Dortmund, leaving Los Blancos finishing second. A challenge against one of the heavyweights of the European game awaited in the round of 16. 

Knockout Stages

Finishing second meant a glamour tie against PSG  in the round of 16, a highly anticipated encounter which pitted the big-spending Parisians with the likes of Neymar and Mbappe taking on  Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos. 

The first leg at the Bernebau saw PSG take an early lead through Rabiot, who rounded off a well-worked passing move. Los Blancos looked shocked but duly hit back just before half-time as Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot. The second half was again close, but Los Blancos scored two goals in three minutes at the very end to have a commanding 3-1 first leg lead. 

Real struck first in the second leg to all but seal the contest. PSG midfielder Veratti picked up a yellow, but despite being 10 men down PSG did level the tie on the night thanks to a goal from Edison Cavani. However, Zidane's side had other ideas and Casemiro scored the winner to confirm a 5-2 aggregate win. 

 Juventus of Italy was the next challenge for Madrid, in a quarterfinal first-leg which will eternally be known for ‘that’ Ronaldo overhead kick. 

Los Blancos headed to Turin as underdogs after failing to hit the heights in the league. The tag didn’t wash with Real and took the lead after just three minutes again through Ronaldo who had scored in nine consecutive Champions League games. Then just after the hour mark, Ronaldo produced a moment of magic throwing his leg high into the air to score a spectacular bicycle kick, which drew applause from the Juventus fans.  Whilst Marcello capped off the tie to give Real a 3-0 lead to take into the second leg. 

The second leg should have been simple for Zidane, knowing that one goal at home would effectively seal the contest. However, it didn’t all go to plan. Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic scored two almost identical headers to give the Italians a foothold in the game. Madrid started to panic, even more, when Blaise Matuidi levelled the tie on aggregate on the hour mark.

 The tie looked set for extra time until a last-gasp penalty was awarded in Madrid’s favour. It took some time for the Juventus players to calm down after protesting the incident, but as ever Ronaldo kept his composure and blasted the ball into the top corner. Los Blancos had survived a late scare and booked their place in the semi-finals, with a 3-1 loss. 

 A third domestic league winner awaited in the form of Bayern Munich, old foes who Real had met on route to Champions League glory. In truth the open exchanges of the first leg were cagey, but Bayern took the lead though Joshua Kimmich. A long distance Marcello strike levelled the tie just before half-time. Then on the break, Real showed their class as Marco Asensio pushed away on the breakaway and scored a stunner to give his side a 2-1 lead heading into the break. 

The Second leg again was a tense affair, as Kimmich again scored early for Bayern. Thankfully Madrid hit back with two Karim Benzema goals to restore a two-goal cushion. Former Real Madrid player James Rodrigez levelled on the night to set up a grandstand finish with Bayern needing just one goal to reach the final. However Real remained resolute in defence to ensure that the third consecutive Champions League crown was up for grabs. 

Can Real Madrid now go all the way and lift their third consecutive Champions League crown against Liverpool in Kiev?

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