Bayern edge out Real
BAYERN Munich will face Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League final on their own turf after beating Real Madrid on penalties at the Bernabeu.
The German side confirmed their place in the Munich final after the semi-final second leg itself finished 2-1 to home side Real, making it 3-3 on aggregate.
And when the game went to spot-kicks, Bayern were nerveless under pressure.
Bastian Schweinsteiger sealed a 3-1 shoot-out win after three Real players missed from the spot - including Cristiano Ronaldo.
It looked as though it might be a straightforward night for Real when they were two goals up courtesy of a Ronaldo brace inside the first quarter-of-an-hour.
David Alaba’s handball from Angel Di Maria’s shot allowed Ronaldo to score from the spot before Mesut Ozil slotted the Portuguese star in for his second after 14 minutes.
But Bayern always looked a threat at the other end, with Arjen Robben side-footing over from point-blank range early on.
And the Dutchman soon made amends, pulling one back from the spot after Pepe had grabbed Mario Gomez as he tried to head home Toni Kroos’ cross.
It proved a far cagier affair after the break, with Real acutely aware of the fact that one Bayern goal would leave them needing two.
There were few chances in extra time either as Real seemed to tire, perhaps exhausted after their efforts in El Clasico at the weekend.
But Bayern looked strong throughout and when it came to penalties, Manuel Neuer proved the hero, saving from Ronaldo and Kaka to help the visitors into a 2-0 lead.
Kroos and Philipp Lahm then had efforts saved by Iker Casillas but just when Real looked to be back in it, Sergio Ramos horribly skied his effort and it was left to Schweinsteiger to finish matters.
Real had erased their 2-1 deficit from the first leg within five minutes as Alaba was somewhat harshly punished for handling Di Maria’s shot and Ronaldo slotted home the resulting penalty.
The visitors responded positively, though, and should have been level within minutes as Alaba nearly made amends for conceding the penalty with a brilliant run and cross but somehow former Chelsea star Robben scuffed the ball over the bar from only yards out.
Franck Ribery was then denied by a brilliant saving challenge from Sami Khedira after Casillas had spilled a Gomez shot from 20 yards but only 15 minutes had passed when Ronaldo doubled his tally and Madrid’s advantage on the evening as he raced on to a brilliant through-ball from Ozil and stroked the ball past Neuer from the edge of the area.
The tie was back on a knife-edge 12 minutes later, though, as Pepe was penalised for a push on Gomez as he tried to get on the end of Kroos’ cross.
Robben had missed a significant penalty in the Bundesliga title decider against Borussia Dortmund a fortnight ago but the former Real player stepped up again and his spot-kick just sneaked past Casillas who got a hand to the ball.
The chances continued to flow at both ends towards the end of an engrossing 45 minutes as firstly Karim Benzema’s curling effort floated just over the bar before Gomez was again found by Kroos but the man who had scored 12 goals in his previous 10 European appearances could not find a way past Casillas.
The Real captain was called into action again in the final action of the first-half as he palmed away Robben’s free-kick and the visitors came close again right at the start of the second period as Gomez’s header from Lahm’s cross crept inches wide.
Generally, though, both sides tightened up significantly in the second half and opportunities were far harder to come by at either end.
Benzema brought a smart save from Neuer before the Frenchman wasted Real’s clearest opening after the break as he fired over from the edge of the area after being fed by Ronaldo.