Champion League

Real Madrid Sub Joselu Stuns Bayern In Thrilling Champions League Semi-Final

Record 14-time winners Real Madrid enjoyed another euphoric Champions League night on Wednesday (May 8), as they came from behind to seal a thrilling 2-1 win over Bayern Munich in the semi-final second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Having beaten the Bavarians 4-3 on aggregate, Los Blancos will play Bundesliga powerhouse Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final at Wembley Stadium on June 1.

Bayern Munich’s Bolt From The Blue

Real Madrid had a clear gameplan from the first minute on Wednesday; they wanted to blast their way into the final, not crawl through. Led by the sensational Vinicius Jr., Real Madrid mounted attack after attack after attack, keeping Manuel Neuer and his backline under pressure. Vinicius struck the post in the 13th minute and Rodrygo could not steer the rebound out of the goalkeeper’s reach. In the 40th minute, the jet-heeled left-winger aimed to find the inside of the far post with a curling free kick, but Neuer tipped it behind out of play.

Los Blancos upped the ante in the second 45, with an even hungrier Vinicius Jr. taking the fight to Joshua Kimmich on the left flank. The Brazilian toyed with the German throughout the second half, creating chance after chance after breezing past him. However, despite their supremacy, Los Merengues found themselves a goal down in the 68th minute, thanks to a sensational outside-the-box piledriver from Alphonso Davies.

Receiving the ball on the left, the versatile full-back charged toward Antonio Rudiger before cutting inside and finding the inside netting with an unstoppable strike. With the clock ticking down, Madrid needed a reply and fast.

An Epic Real Madrid Comeback

Bayern Munich players took their sweet time getting on with the game after the goal, while manager Thomas Tuchel made some defensive changes to preserve their slender lead. He took Jamal Musiala, Leroy Sane, and Harry Kane off, giving Carlo Ancelotti the license to go on the offensive. The Real Madrid manager grabbed the opportunity with both hands and brought Luka Modric (69′), Eduardo Camavinga (69′), Brahim Diaz (81′), and Joselu (81′) into the game.

The ultra-attacking strategy paid off handsomely in the 88th minute. Vinicius Jr. stung Neuer’s palms with a powerful strike, which the legendary goalkeeper failed to hold. Joselu reacted the quickest to the opportunity and put away the loose ball from point-blank range, restoring parity for Madrid. As Bayern scrambled to find control, the home team struck for the second time on the night only a couple of minutes later, with Joselu tapping home Rudiger’s delivery from close range. The referee initially ruled the goal out for offside but overturned it after a swift review.

A Dash Of Controversy

The referee initially added nine of added time, but due to the VAR review, signaled for an additional couple of minutes. However, with players clashing and tumbling all over the pitch, the referee allowed play to continue for a few extra minutes. In the 13th minute of added time, Matthijs de Ligt had the ball in the Real Madrid net. But before he could receive the ball from Thomas Muller and turn it in, the referee blew the whistle for offside, prompting players to stop the play. Madrid players, including goalkeeper Andriy Lunin made no attempts to stop De Ligt from scoring.

Bayern fans argued the referee should have allowed play to go on or consulted VAR after the ball went in. However, since the whistle went off before the goal, the VAR could not intervene. Tuchel, Muller, and De Ligt complained vociferously after the whistle, but Madrid, having booked their second final three years, continued celebrating well into the night.

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