Real Madrid finally crack Atlético code

Real Madrid CF 1-0 Club Atlético de Madrid (agg: 1-0)
Javier Hernández scored the only goal of an engrossing tie with two minutes left after Atlético's Arda Turan had been sent off.

Madrid 1-0 Atlético: the story in photos ©AFP/Getty Images

Real Madrid finally get better of Atlético in tight quarter-final at Santiago Bernabéu
Javier Hernández scores only goal of the tie late on (88)
Atlético's Arda Turan collects second yellow card (76)
Madrid into last four for fifth year in a row
• The semi-final draw takes place in Nyon from 12.00CET on Friday

Real Madrid CF finally saw off the challenge of neighbours Club Atlético de Madrid thanks to a goal from Javier Hernández two minutes from time.

This tie looked set to become just the third in UEFA Champions League history to finish goalless after 120 minutes with the clock ticking down, only for Hernández to turn the loose ball into an empty net after Cristiano Ronaldo's burst into the penalty area to take Madrid into a fifth straight semi-final.

With nothing between the teams in last week's quarter-final first leg – and Madrid denied Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema through injury – it was little surprise the initial exchanges were full of caution. Madrid had largely controlled the first period at the Vicente Calderón eight days previously and were first to threaten again, James Rodríguez playing in Hernández down the right but the Mexican slashed his shot wide of the near post from a tight angle.

Atlético looked to soak up pressure and break swiftly, and their first opening arrived in the 15th minute as Iker Casillas failed to get distance on a punch; Koke's improvised volley flew too high. Jesús Gámez then won possession midway inside the Madrid half and drew a solid stop from the goalkeeper.

That heralded a sustained spell of Madrid dominance, Hernández having a header deflected behind and Atlético custodian Jan Oblak beating away Ronaldo's free-kick. The keeper excelled again in the 44th minute after  Mario Mandžukić lost the ball and Madrid worked it through to Ronaldo; with the home fans rising to acclaim a goal, Oblak blocked.

The Slovene international was exposed again early in the second period as Isco's pass split the Atlético defence, only for Hernández to pull his shot a metre wide of the far post. Oblak was then perfectly positioned to deal with firm headers from Raphaël Varane and Sergio Ramos; the same was true of Casillas at the other end when Koke was first to a perfectly flighted ball into the box.

The tie then appeared to tip decisively Madrid's way as Arda collected his second yellow card of the evening 14 minutes from time, and moments later the breakthrough seemed certain as James broke through. Instead, Oblak got just enough on the strike to turn it behind.

Madrid would not be denied, however, and finally broke Atlético's resistance with two minutes remaining. Ronaldo surged into the area after a one-two with James before sliding a pass to Hernández, supplying a simple finish for his first UEFA Champions League goal in 895 days – and keeping alive Madrid's quest to become the first side to retain the UEFA Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo (tries to squeeze between Antoine Griezmann and Jesús Gámez
Cristiano Ronaldo (tries to squeeze between Antoine Griezmann and Jesús Gámez©AFP/Getty Images
Madrid's Pepe tussles with Saúl Ñíguez of Atlético
Madrid's Pepe tussles with Saúl Ñíguez of Atlético©AFP/Getty Images
Javier Hernández (left) pursues Diego Godín
Javier Hernández (left) pursues Diego Godín©Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo shows his frustration
Cristiano Ronaldo shows his frustration©AFP/Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo misses Madrid's best opening on the stroke of half-time
Cristiano Ronaldo misses Madrid's best opening on the stroke of half-time©Getty Images
Javier Hernández reacts after missing a chance for Madrid
Javier Hernández reacts after missing a chance for Madrid©AFP/Getty Images
Javier Hernández after scoring the only goal in the 88th minute
Javier Hernández after scoring the only goal in the 88th minute©AFP/Getty Images

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