UEFA Champions League: Luck shines on Real Madrid again, with gifted goal

Real Madrid became just the third team after AC Milan (1993-95) and Juventus (1996-98) to make three straight UEFA Champions League finals.

But it was certainly a struggle.

It needed a controversial penalty kick to beat Juventus in the quarterfinals after blowing a 3-0 aggregate lead.

In the semifinals, Real Madrid got two goals from Karim Benzema to tie Bayern Munich, 2-2, at home after winning, 2-1, in Munich. But Bayern was certainly the better team and threatened until the dying seconds of stoppage time to get a third goal that would have sent it through to the finals.

“It was a mad game, but a lovely one,” Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “You have to suffer in soccer. You can’t reach a final without suffering and it’s even better like this. Well, maybe not for the heart. But it is.”

Real Madrid benefited from a mistake by Bayern keeper Sven Ulreich to take a 2-1 lead 20 seconds into the second half. Ulreich went down to collect a backpass, then realized his sin and inexplicably let the ball slip past him for Benzema to put into the empty net.

There were also a couple of non-calls when Bayern could have been awarded penalty kicks.

One of the decisions involved Brazilian Marcelo, who admitted he committed a handball. Injured Chilean star Arturo Vidal said Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir's decision to not award a penalty "criminal s***."

“We are very disappointed because we played an outstanding game,” said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes. “I told the boys just now that I have not seen Bayern play like tonight in the past few years. But at this high level you cannot make the mistakes we made in the first game and tonight after the break."
2 comments about "UEFA Champions League: Luck shines on Real Madrid again, with gifted goal".
  1. Jack DiGiorgio, May 2, 2018 at 12:41 p.m.

    The turkish referee Cakir had a lot to say about this undeserved qualification of RM! I call it Mafia within UEFA and with RM associated to it. What a shame!

  2. beautiful game, May 2, 2018 at 6:54 p.m.

    Have watched Cakir officiate many CL games with questionable non-calls. But it's not him, per se, that needs scrutiny. It is FIFA that won't protect players, and it's FIFA that provides guidelines to officials on the pitch to overlook cardable offenses until the last 10-minutes of the game when soft fouls see yellow. The LOTG are not being enforced and the players have the green light to do whatever is necessary to disrupt the opposition. FIFA's corrupt culture has become a widespread disease.

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