Real Madrid’s campaign in the Champions League
MADRID (AP) — A look at Real Madrid’s Champions League campaign ahead of Saturday’s final against Juventus in Cardiff:
Real Madrid easily advanced from a group containing Sporting Lisbon, Legia Warsaw and Borussia Dortmund, even though it finished second behind Dortmund.
The defending champions drew both matches against the German club, relinquishing a two-goal lead at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Madrid’s other setback in the group stage was a 3-3 draw at Legia Warsaw. It had routed the Polish club 5-1 at the Bernabeu.
Madrid struggled in its opening match, needing two very late goals to earn a 2-1 win over Sporting Lisbon at the Bernabeu. Madrid later defeated Sporting by the same score in Portugal.
ROUND OF 16
Madrid faced a Napoli team that was one game short of equaling its unbeaten record of 19 matches in all competitions.
The Italian team took early leads in both legs to give Madrid a scare, but the European champions rallied both times to earn consecutive 3-1 victories and reach the quarterfinals.
Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Casemiro scored in the first leg in Madrid after Lorenzo Insigne’s extraordinary long-range goal for Napoli less than 10 minutes into the game.
Dries Mertens gave Napoli hope in the second leg with a goal in the 24th minute, but Madrid hit back with an equalizer from Sergio Ramos, an own-goal by Mertens and a stoppage-time strike by Alvaro Morata.
In a quarterfinal matchup between two powerhouses, Madrid needed extra time and two decisive performances from Cristiano Ronaldo to keep Bayern from reaching the semifinals for the sixth straight season.
Ronaldo scored both goals in the 2-1 first-leg win in Germany and added a hat trick in the 4-2 second-leg victory at home.
Arturo Vidal opened the scoring in the first leg but the Bayern midfielder missed a penalty just before halftime and Madrid eventually rallied for the victory. Bayern had Javi Martinez sent off in the second half of what was Bayern’s first Champions League setback at home after 16 consecutive wins.
In the return game, Bayern was able to match the first-leg result over 90 minutes. But Vidal was sent off in the 84th and Ronaldo scored twice early in extra time to put Madrid in the semifinals for the seventh straight season.
The goals also enabled Ronaldo to become the first player reach 100 Champions League goals.
Madrid met Atletico for the fourth consecutive time in the Champions League, and again it got the better of its crosstown rival.
Madrid had already beaten Atletico in the final in 2014 (in extra time) and in 2016 (in a penalty shootout). The team also eliminated Atletico in the quarterfinals in 2015.
Ronaldo gave Madrid a 3-0 first-leg win with a hat trick at the Bernabeu, but there was drama in the return match at the Vicente Calderon Stadium as Atletico scored two early goals to move one short of a historic comeback.
It looked like things could go Atletico’s way until Karim Benzema found a way to get past three Atletico defenders and set up a crucial away goal for Francisco “Isco” Alarcon just before halftime.
Madrid held on to secure a return to the final and keep alive its hopes of becoming the first team to retain the Champions League title since the competition’s new format was created in 1992.
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