Real Madrid confirmed their place in the Champions League final for a third year running as they beat Bayern Munich 4-3 on aggregate in the semi-final
Just like the first leg, it was Bayern that broke the deadlock through a familiar face as Joshua Kimmich struck a close-range goal just three minutes in. But, the hosts didn’t take long to level things up as Karim Benzema nodded in Marcelo’s cross, finishing off a fine team move.
Bayern subsequently dominated much of the proceedings, albeit without an end product, and Real Madrid punished them for that and Sven Ulreich’s uncharacteristic error as Benzema doubled and his side’s tally just moments into the second half. The visitors though, would finally grab a goal deserving of their sustained pressure.
James Rodriguez, on-loan at Bayern from Real Madrid, struck from an acute angle to give his side some late hope. But, Los Blancos held on to their nerves and Jupp Heynckes & co. to a 2-2 draw, winning the semi-final tie 4-3 on aggregate to reach their third successive final. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Zinedine Zidane’s men.
Keylor Navas: 9/10
Often derided by Real Madrid fans and neutrals alike for his error prone ways of late, Navas let his glove work do the talking on Tuesday. Very little went past the Costa Rican, who is the biggest reason why Los Blancos are in the final.
8 – Keylor Navas made eight saves against Bayern Munich, his highest tally in a Champions League knock-out game. Hero. pic.twitter.com/9wpwW0Qpb6
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) May 1, 2018
In all, Navas made eight saves on the night, most being right out of the top drawer as he kept the Bayern attack at bay. Most importantly, the bravery he showed in tight situations proved to be the difference, and he made a big case to remain the Real Madrid number one next season.
Lucas Vazquez: 5/10
In a brave call by Zidane, Vazquez was deployed as a makeshift right-back ahead of Achraf Hakimi, with Dani Carvajal injured. This was perhaps, the worst possible game he could have started in the position, with both Franck Ribery and David Alaba in their elements on the left side of the Bayern attack.
The Spaniard had his hands full with the duo, who exploited his defensive weakness perfectly, meaning the left side always carried a threat throughout the game. Unlikely to deputise as a full-back again, when his qualities are better utilised in attack.
Raphael Varane: 7/10
The best of the lot in a nervy Real Madrid backline, Varane held his own against the Bayern onslaught on the night. His numbers were truly mind boggling, with the Frenchman making 2 interceptions, 13 clearances and 3 blocks. An encore will be needed when Real Madrid meet either Liverpool or AS Roma later this month in Kiev.
Sergio Ramos: 6.5/10
An early error put Real Madrid up against it as a poor clearance allowed the visitors to score the opener. But, Ramos lifted himself up subsequently, organising the backline and making a number of important clearances to keep the danger away from Navas as much as possible.
Marcelo had an easier outing at the back than the first leg, with Arjen Robben unavailable due to injury. However, he could perhaps, consider himself to be lucky for not conceding a goal in a call that could have gone either way. But, it was on the other end of the pitch where he made his mark again, assisting the opener for Benzema with an inch perfect cross.
Luka Modric: 7/10
In a rather unfamiliar role on the right side of the Real Madrid midfield, Modric was slightly restricted, but was still one of the more dangerous proponents on the ball for the hosts. Had a lot more defensive work to do than usual, as he looked to provide cover to Vazquez against David Alaba.
Mateo Kovacic: 5/10
A surprise selection ahead of Casemiro, Kovacic had a night to forget. The Croat didn’t do anything to warrant a start in the final, failing to provide order in the middle which saw Thiago Alcantara and James Rodriguez make merry. Passed the ball well, but that was about the only thing he executed positively on the night.
Toni Kroos: 6/10
Much like the first leg, Kroos was anything but the creative force that Real Madrid fans have grown accustomed to watching over the years. James and Corentin Tolisso always had the upper hand against the former Bayern man, who failed to impose himself on the game and was largely a passenger.
Marco Asensio: 6/10
Into the starting lineup after a game changing performance last week, Asensio wasn’t even half as influential on Tuesday in more than double the time on the pitch. Drifted out of the game with alarming regularity – a missed opportunity for the youngster.
Karim Benzema: 9/10
Another player who has been subject to a barrage of criticism over the course of the season, Benzema played a major role in guiding Real Madrid to the final. His first goal was well taken as he created the space for himself by essentially pushing David Alaba inwards to head in unmarked.
Amazing tactical performance from Karim Benzema, to use active zone of David Alaba in order to attract him closer to teammates, release the space and change direction into the blind zone in right timing (basing on cross anticipation) with disatvantegous body orinetation. pic.twitter.com/Xk1yv5vO9t
— Mindfootballness (@slawekmorawski) May 1, 2018
The second saw him use his trademark poaching abilities to good effect, pouncing on a catastrophic error by Sven Ulreich to slam home what was the winner of the tie. Did a lot of work off the ball to mount the pressure on Bayern, making seven recovering runs in all – the highest ever in his career at the Bernabeu.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 5/10
One of the worst games of the season for Ronaldo, if not the worst. The Real Madrid talisman never really got into the thick of things, and couldn’t take the rare chances that came his way. Something to be concerned about for Zidane ahead of the final later this month.