Borussia Dortmund booked their place in the Champions League final, after scraping through a four- three aggregate score, against a spirited Real Madrid that were so close to completing a remarkable comeback.
Jose Mourinho’s side won 2-0 on the night , but could not find the vital third goal need to overturn the four- one deficit from the first leg.
Madrid went into the game knowing that if they were to have any chance of been at Wembley on May 25th, they would have to come firing out of the blocks. That they certainly did, and for the first twenty five minutes, it looked like a matter of time before they got a foot hold in the game.
Gonzalo Higuaín had the first chance of the match as he was found by a brilliant reverse ball by Mesut Ozil, only for him to force a great save from Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller. Soon after the German midfielder has a great chance of his own, but as he closed in on goal; he appeared to lose his nerve and dragged his shot wide. This was after both Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo fired over from close range.
Minutes later Cristiano Ronaldo had a near identical chance for Madrid, but hit his powerful shot straight at the keeper. Last weeks four- goal hero Robert Lewandowski then had Dortmund’s best chance of the half, as he broke free from the shackles of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane; but saw his shot saved well by Diego Lopez.
The remainder of the half was a far more tight and tense affair, full of passion and commitment that was lacking from Madrid’s lacklustre defeat a week ago. The tempo of the game reduced considerably as Madrid came up against a stern Dortmund backline who defended bravely.
After coming under considerable pressure from their hosts in the first half, it was Dortmund who posed the attacking threat at the start of the second. Lewandowski saw his thunderous strike rebound of the underside of the cross bar, a minute after the Pole fired over from inside the box.
Then on the hour mark, Diego Lopez made a stunning point blank save to deny Iikay Gundogun, who latched onto Marco Reus’ low cross to the six yard box and saw his goal bound shot palmed away.
In the remaining half hour Real Madrid pushed on to try and get a goal that would give them a slim chance in the tie, but could not get the breakthrough and were beginning to grow frustrated. However when substitute Karim Benzema tapped home Ozil’s low cross in the eighty third minute, hope was restored.
Six minutes later and the incredible comeback looked well and truly on as defender Sergio Ramos rifled the ball into the roof of the net, after Dortmund failed to clear a Madrid corner; will the ball falling to the centre back. However as the game entered added time, an injury to Sven Bendher disrupted Madrid’s rhythm and they were unable to get the crucial third goal they needed, putting Dortmund through.
It was a spirited fight back from Madrid and a brave effort that at the very least, restored some dignity into the team However in reality the tie was lost after the four one humiliation they suffered a week ago. As for Dortmund they now have a Champions League final to look forward to, which is most likely to be against their compatriots Bayern Munich.
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