Ronaldo blows Jose and Chelsea reunion as Germans set up home-town final
It’s Munich in Munich for Chelsea. The hopes of a grand reunion with Jose Mourinho in Bavaria fell apart on a drama-filled night at the Bernabeu. The German ability to convert penalties proved itself again after two full games and and 30 minutes of extra time could not separate two well-matched sides.
Real Madrid missed three of their first four penalties and Bastian Schweinsteiger drilled in the crucial third for Bayern. Cristiano Ronaldo scored one in normal time but Manuel Neuer saved his opener in the shootout.
Mourinho kissed some religious beads before the penalty duel but then disappeared swiftly down the tunnel. He knew Real’s great chance had gone. They have followed Barcelona out of the Champions League.
An enthralling match saw Real roar into an early two-goal lead, only for Bayern to reply in a non-stop first half. The game began at a blistering pace and by the 14th minute Ronaldo had scored his 53rd and 54th goals of a stellar season for Madrid to wipe out Bayern’s one-goal lead from the first leg.
But the reds of Munich took the punches and jabbed back. They were inspired by Arjen Robben, once of Chelsea, who scored a 27th-minute penalty. Tens of thousands of white flags created a euphoric atmosphere before kick-off.
‘This is our moment,’ Ronaldo had said on Tuesday and that was the unmistakable feel in one of the great cathedrals of football. A huge banner was unveiled that declared: ‘The Years Pass, The Legend Is Eternal’. Bayern could hardly miss the message.
Manager Jupp Heynckes chose the same team as last week, despite six of the visiting side being one booking away from missing the final, were they to get there. In a miserable opening for the German side, David Alaba was the first Bayern player to know he was out of the final. It took all of five minutes.
Sami Khedira had already wasted a good chance by then, running on to a pass from Angel Di Maria. It was Di Maria’s volley that struck Alaba’s arm from close range. It was harsh to say it was deliberate, but Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai thought so. Alaba saw yellow and Kassai pointed to the spot, from where Ronaldo stepped up and guided a supreme, cool penalty past Neuer.
That made it 2-2 on aggregate. Less than 10 minutes later it was 3-2 to the Spanish side. Ronaldo got the second, too. This was a proper move, the ball being zipped around the Real midfield until Mesut Ozil fed Ronaldo just inside the area.
A lesser player would have taken a touch; Ronaldo clipped it early, low and hard. Neuer was left looking helpless.
So in 14 minutes Bayern’s first-leg 2-1 advantage was overturned. But this was no monopoly possession game a la Barca. In between Real’s two goals, Robben somehow missed a six-yard volley and only a last-ditch Khedira tackle prevented Franck Ribery from punishing Iker Casillas’s spilling of a Mario Gomez shot.
Real’s defensive fragility had been proven and, after falling two behind, Bayern could say ‘let’s give it a go’. They did. Robben – three years at Chelsea, two at Madrid – was a menace and Real backed off.
In the 26th minute Robben initiated the move that saw Pepe force Gomez to the floor for the evening’s second penalty and second yellow card. Some thought it should be red. Robben took the spot kick, Casillas got a hand to it, but it was 2-1, 3-3 on aggregate.
In the 45th minute, Casillas was tested again by Robben, the 17th goal attempt of a brilliant, breathless half. Bayern had as much of the play as the hosts and, on 75 minutes, Mourinho introduced Kaka, the second most expensive footballer ever after Ronaldo.
Man-of-the-match Robben teed up Gomez in the 86th minute for what seemed a certain winner, but Gomez dallied and the chance was lost.
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