UCL: Joselu’s late brace sends Real Madrid through to final over Bayern Munich 

UCL: Joselu’s late brace sends Real Madrid through to final over Bayern Munich 

Spanish forward Joselu was the unlikeliest of heroes, as his late brace sealed a 2-1 comeback win for 14-time winners Real Madrid over Bayern Munich in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal on Wednesday night.

Los Blancos pulled yet another memorable knockout stage comeback win out of their magical hat at the Santiago Bernabeu to seal their place in the competition’s final for a record-extending 18th time after a 4-3 aggregate win over the Bavarians.

Following the four-goal thriller that ended in a stalemate in Germany a week ago, both Madrid and Bayern knew they needed a victory to progress to the final, where they will face Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund after their impressive win in France on Tuesday.

Knowing that they boasted a better record in the fixture in recent times, the home team started on the front foot, and they almost got in front, but Vinicius Junior’s effort was denied by the post, while Rodrygo Goes was unable to beat Manuel Neuer with his rebound from close range.

Harry Kane registered Bayern’s first chance of the game with a brilliant strike from outside the box, but Ukrainian goalkeeper Andriy Lunin dropped to his left quickly to thwart the Englishman’s effort. However, Vinicius almost broke the deadlock just before the halftime break, but his cross, which was creeping in, was parried away by Neuer, who seemed to be in inspired form.

The second half started with both sides swiftly moving into second gear as the attackers forced a couple of saves from the opposing goalkeepers. Bayern’s goal was more under threat as Neuer denied Rodrygo’s brilliant freekick before saving another curling effort from Vinicius.

At the other end, Jamal Musiala was denied by Lunin in the 66th minute, following a quick break by the Germans. They finally got their noses in front two minutes later through Canadian fullback Alphonso Davies, whose right-footed effort beat Lunin before heading into the far post.

Real Madrid thought they had drawn level in the 71st minute via Matthijs de Ligt’s own goal, but after a VAR review, referee Szymon Marciniak ruled it out, following an infringement on Bayern defender Joshua Kimmich in the build-up.

The White Angels would not be denied their equaliser in the 88th minute as Joselu, who came on seven minutes earlier for Federico Valverde, reacted quickest to poke the ball home from close range after Neuer uncharacteristically fumbled a shot from Vinicius.

The Madrid academy graduate, who is currently on loan from Espanyol, scored again in the first minute of stoppage time to seal victory for Carlo Ancelotti’s men. Joselu tapped the ball into an empty net from close range after a square ball from Antonio Rudiger to complete Madrid’s comeback.

The win ensured record winners, Real Madrid, would return to the Champions League final for the sixth time in the last eleven years. Meanwhile, Ancelotti, who has also won the competition twice with Madrid, will compete in his sixth final, the most of any manager in the history of the tournament.

The La Liga champions will face off against their fourth German opponent in the competition this season when they take on Dortmund in the Champions League final on Saturday, June 1, at Wembley Stadium.

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