Real Madrid set incredible new Champions League record with Man City victory

Real Madrid just don’t know when they are done in this season’s Champions League.

The Spanish giants booked their place in the final following an improbable turnaround against Manchester City.

Already 4-3 down on aggregate, Madrid seemed dead and buried following a Riyad Mahrez strike around the 70-minute mark. However, the previous knockout rounds have proven that you cannot count Real out until the final whistle.

Just as City had one foot in the final, an unlikely hero emerged for Madrid in the 90th minute.

Substitute winger Rodrygo made it 1-1 on the night, darting in front of City goalkeeper Ederson to flick home. Just a minute later, the 21-year-old sent the tie to extra time. In an incredible turnaround, Rodrygo scored a brilliant header that left the keeper rooted to the spot.

The recently crowned La Liga champions kept up the pressure in the opening minutes of extra time. Their hard work was quickly rewarded, as a clumsy Ruben Dias challenge gifted Real a chance to take the lead in the tie from the penalty spot.

Deciding not to ‘Panenka’ the ball this time, Karim Benzema coolly slotted his penalty home to send the Bernabeu into a frenzy. Now it was Madrid’s turn to defend as a reeling Man City tried to make a comeback.

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Pep Guardiola’s side had some chances, with Fernandinho just missing out on putting away a rebound from a Phil Foden header. However, spirited defending from the hosts, led by an impressive Edouardo Camavinga, kept City at bay. After a questionably short amount of injury time, Real Madrid were heading to Paris.

It was yet another stunning result for Real Madrid, who have had a rollercoaster Champions League campaign.

Los Blancos: Comeback kings

Real did not even get through the group stage without some difficulties. A shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of Sheriff Tiraspol on matchday two led some to question whether Real could even reach the round of 16. However, four wins from their last four group stage fixtures allayed fears of a group stage exit.

Cue the knockout stages, where Madrid received a tough draw in the form of Paris Saint-Germain. In the first leg in France, Madrid were heavily criticised for their negative game plan as PSG took a 1-0 advantage.

However, the return fixture was the first of some incredible nights at the Bernabeu. Thanks to a Karim Benzema second-half hat trick, Madrid came back from 2-0 down on aggregate.

For their quarter-final against holders Chelsea, manager Carlo Ancelotti took a different approach to the away leg than in the previous round. Madrid’s high press paid dividends as they won 3-1 at Stamford Bridge. In contrast, the second leg was a disaster; Chelsea were 3-0 up on the night and heading through with ten minutes left.

But, yet again, Real were able to rescue themselves from elimination. Rodrygo popped up with an important goal to send the tie to extra time. Here, talisman Karim Benzema was the hero once again as he scored to send Real to the semis.

As a result of the topsy-turvy nature of their run to the final, Madrid set a unique Champions League record.

Real Madrid make Champions League history

The Spanish giants are the first side to lose a game in the round of 16, the quarter-final, and the semi-final yet still reach the final in Champions League history. This unbelievable stat is proof of Madrid’s never-say-die attitude that has got them through the tournament.

Real manager Carlo Ancelotti puts it down to the club’s greatness.

“The greatness of the club is this. It is a club that does not allow you to lower your arms when it seems that everything is over,” the Italian told Movistar Plus in a post-match interview.

“It is a feeling that gives you the strength to continue, to continue to believe,” said Ancelotti (quotes per The Independent).  “We played a match against a very strong rival, solid, competitive. When everything seemed to be over, we looked for the last bit of energy to match it.

“If you equalise in the last minutes, you have a psychological advantage. You enter another dynamic, and in front of our fans, that is fatal to the visitors. We eliminated three teams capable of winning the title. It has been a success.”

Real will now attempt to win their third trophy this season, hoping to add the Champions League to their La Liga and Supercopa Espana crowns. Standing in their way is a Liverpool side still chasing a quadruple.

Featured Image Credit: Getty