"I went to cross, but obviously it doesn't matter however the ball goes in the back of the net," Gareth Bale told UEFA.com as he shared his delight with helping Real Madrid into the final.
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A delighted Gareth Bale confessed there was more than a touch of luck to the goal that took Real Madrid into a second UEFA Champions League final in three seasons, edging Manchester City 1-0 on aggregate.
It was Bale's surging run and deflected cross in the first-half, turned into his own net inadvertently by Fernando, that sealed the victory for Madrid. All smiles, Bale candidly admitted there was a stroke of luck about his side's goal.
"I went to cross, but obviously it doesn't matter however the ball goes in the back of the net," he told UEFA.com. "We're very happy and the most important thing is we're in the final.
"We're very excited to get to the final. We're going to enjoy tonight and this result. It was a very difficult two-legged game against Manchester City but we're very happy that we kept two clean sheets and nicked a goal to get into the final. It was a very professional performance. We've really worked together as a team and that showed again tonight."
The Welshman has been in irresistible form of late, scoring four in his last five appearances in all competitions including winning goals in the last two league games to ensure Madrid remain in the hunt for the Liga title. "I enjoy taking responsibility on the pitch," he said. "Hopefully I can keep doing it, keep improving and putting in good performances."
The Santiago Bernabéu crowd created an almighty atmosphere for the occasion. Lining the streets to welcome their players to the ground before kick-off, they soon filled the footballing coliseum to the brim, unfurling a mosaic depicting the club crest as the sides emerged to help inspire their team to victory.
"The fans were incredible today," said Bale. "They got behind us every step of the way and when we were tired they gave us a lift. They were incredible and I'm sure they'll be incredible for the final."
The players showed their gratitude to the supporters long after the final whistle, applauding them and standing hand in hand, bowing to acknowledge their part in the triumph. It was also a pertinent achievement for Zinédine Zidane, who exactly four months to the day after taking over as Madrid coach in his first senior coaching role has reached European club football's showpiece event.
"He's given us that belief and freedom to go out and express ourselves and enjoy ourselves," said Bale of fellow former UEFA Champions League final goalscorer Zidane. "When players can do that, you see the best of them."
Awaiting the Merengues for the showdown in Milan on 28 May are great city rivals Atlético Madrid. It is to be a repeat of the 2014 final in which Bale scored an extra-time goal in a pulsating 4-1 win. Atlético are familiar opponents whom Madrid know "everything about" according to the man whose shirt number echoes the number of European titles his side hope to have after the final – 11.
"We know that come the final it's going to be a very difficult, very cagey game again," Bale said. "We know how they play, we know what they're like. It's going to be a difficult game, but we're confident we can win."