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Madrid edge past City to reach final

Real Madrid 1-0 Manchester City (agg: 1-0)
Fernando deflected in Gareth Bale's first-half cross to take Madrid into their 14th final, where arch-rivals Atlético await.

2016 semi-final highlights: Real Madrid 1-0 Man. City
  • Real Madrid edge past City and into second final in three years
  • Gareth Bale's cross deflects in off Fernando for only goal of tie (20)
  • Six home wins from six for Madrid this season; 19 goals scored, none conceded
  • Madrid into 14th European Cup final; City's first semi-final ends in defeat
  • Madrid will face city rivals Atlético in Milan final on 28 May, a repeat of 2014 showpiece

The 2016 UEFA Champions League final will be another all-Madrid affair after Real Madrid squeezed past Manchester City to reach the showpiece for the 14th time.

City's rearguard had held firm in last week's goalless first leg, but Manuel Pellegrini was forced into a costly early reshuffle as captain Vincent Kompany limped off in the tenth minute. That was the last thing City's under-pressure defence needed – and in the 20th minute, they fell behind.

Bale reacts to reaching another final

Gareth Bale drove into the visitors' penalty area down the right and his attempted cross took a deflection off the sliding Fernando, looping over Joe Hart and in off the far post. Madrid's advantage might have increased as first Marcelo's cross-shot drifted across the face of goal before Sergio Ramos had an effort disallowed for offside.

City had struggled to muster an attacking threat with Sergio Agüero isolated up front, but while it took until the 44th minute for their first move of note, it nearly brought an equaliser. Kevin De Bruyne found Fernandinho inside the penalty area, and the midfielder came inside Dani Carvajal before drilling a low shot against the outside of the right-hand post.

Hart rues City's exit

It was City's turn to escape early in the second period as Bale's lofted pass caught out their offside trap and left Luka Modrić with only Hart to beat. The Croatian pulled the ball down expertly but was then denied by the goalkeeper's left hand, and City breathed again.

Ronaldo then headed a Jesé Rodríguez cross straight at Hart, who denied the Portuguese again after Lucas Vázquez had slipped a pass through. City's goal was leading a charmed life, emphasised when Bale's header dropped over Hart but came back off the crossbar.

When Madrid met Atleti two years ago ...

Despite their lack of attacking threat, City therefore remained in the tie and Madrid hearts were in mouths in the final seconds when Agüero's shot flew on to the top of their net. That was as close as the visitors had come all night, but it is Madrid who will face Atlético in Milan – a repeat of the 2014 final.

Analysis from Joseph Walker at the Bernabéu

Key player: Gareth Bale
The Welshman is in a rich vein of form and put in another impressive display. It was after his powerful run that the ball was deflected past Hart by Fernando to seal Madrid's second UEFA Champions League final appearance in three years. He also hit the bar with a wonderful header and was a constant menace to the City defence with his pace and direct running.

Keylor Navas has been in fine form
Keylor Navas has been in fine form©AFP/Getty Images

Navas the unbeatable
Keylor Navas has now gone the entire UEFA Champions League campaign (six appearances in total) without conceding a goal at the Santiago Bernabéu. He was seldom tested by a blunt City attack, but his form in this season's competition has been a key reason behind the Merengues' run to the final, shipping just two in total en route to Milan.

Pellegrini's tactics nullified
Pellegrini set up with a 4-1-4-1 formation hoping to make the most of Casemiro's absence, but Madrid dominated the midfield battle, Modrić, Isco and Toni Kroos controlling the middle of the park. Making his comeback from injury in an attacking midfield role, the usually influential Yaya Touré was unable to make his presence felt because of the pressure asserted by the aforementioned trio; Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jesé Rodríguez gave City's defence no time on the ball with asphyxiating pressing.

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©Getty Images
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