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UEFA Youth League semi-finalist: Real Madrid

Beaten in the semi-finals in 2014 and 2016, Real Madrid will be hoping that this season proves a case of third time lucky as they prepare to meet Benfica in the last four.

Real Madrid will be hoping it is third time lucky in terms of reaching the final
Real Madrid will be hoping it is third time lucky in terms of reaching the final ©Iñigo Marín

Real Madrid have qualified for the semi-finals for the third time in only four seasons of UEFA Youth League competition. In 2014 they were beaten 4-0 by Benfica – their opponents this time – and last year they fell 3-1 to Paris Saint-Germain.

Road to Nyon
The Spanish side finished five points clear atop Group F, losing only one game. That solitary setback, 3-1 at home to Borussia Dortmund, came on matchday six when their qualification had long been confirmed.

Trailing 2-0 in Monaco at half-time of their round of 16 tie, Guti's charges fought back to win 4-3, despite having Franchu dismissed late on. Álex Martín's 78th-minute penalty then sealed a 2-1 success over Ajax in the quarter-finals.

Coach: Guti
A midfielder blessed with flair and technique, Guti came through Madrid's academy before winning five Liga titles and three UEFA Champions League crowns. He returned as a coach in 2013 and took over the Under-19s last summer.

Quarter-final highlights: Madrid win seven-goal thriller

Players to watch
Sergio Díaz: Díaz joined Madrid last summer from Cerro Porteño in his native Paraguay. Capable of playing as a lone striker or on either wing, the 19-year-old has registered four goals and provided as many assists.

Álex Martín: The centre-back is the only ever-present in the Madrid squad, having played all 720 minutes of their campaign to date. His spot kick versus Ajax was his first UEFA Youth League goal.

Dani Gómez: Son of a former Atlético Madrid youth-team forward, Gómez has claimed some crucial goals, despite starting just two matches and playing a combined 282 minutes. His three strikes have come in slender victories – against Legia Warszawa (3-2), Monaco (4-3) and Ajax (2-1).