Real edges past City to set up all-Madrid final

Brazilian midfielder Fernando deflected Gareth Bale’s cross into his own net after 20 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu for the only goal of the tie after the first leg ended goalless.

Gareth Bale celebrates after winning the semifinal against Manchester City. City midfielder Fernando deflected Bale's cross into his own net.   -  Reuters

Real Madrid will face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final for the second time in three years after overcoming Manchester City 1-0 in their semi-final second leg on Wednesday.

Brazilian midfielder Fernando deflected Gareth Bale’s cross into his own net after 20 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu for the only goal of the tie after the first leg ended goalless.

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Fernandinho came closest to taking City to its first ever Champions League final when his shot clipped the outside of the post a minute before half-time. >Ronaldo reiterates desire for Zidane to continue as Madrid coach

Real beat Atletico 4-1 after extra-time in Lisbon two years ago to win the competition for a 10th time and will be hoping for a repeat when they face Diego Simeone's men in Milan on May 28.

The host was given a huge boost before kick-off as Cristiano Ronaldo made his return after a three-game absence due to a thigh injury. By contrast, City was dealt a massive injury blow inside 10 minutes when captain Vincent Kompany was forced off once more with a muscle problem in an injury-disrupted campaign.

Eliaquim Mangala was forced on to deputise for Kompany, but City's makeshift defence wasn't overly troubled despite the presence of Ronaldo and an in-form Bale in the first 45 minutes.

Ronaldo was looking to equal his own record of 17 Champions League goals in a season, but sent his first chance well over the bar with a header from Dani Carvajal's cross. >Hart left broken by 'very lucky' Madrid goal

However, Madrid got the luck they needed to swing the tie in their favour with their next attack as Bale was played in on the right of the City box and his intended cross spooned up off Fernando and into the far corner to leave Joe Hart helpless.

The difference in European pedigree between the clubs couldn't have been starker as Madrid was playing in its 27th semi-final, whilst City was in the last four for the first time. That inexperience looked to be taking hold as City enjoyed decent spells of first-half possession without troubling the Real defence.

However, it came within inches of finding the crucial away goal just before the break when Kevin de Bruyne picked out Fernandinho and the Brazilian midfielder's low driven shot clipped the outside of the post.

The goalmouth action was all in City's box early in the second period as Hart was called upon to keep his side in the match.

Luka Modric spurned a huge chance to put the tie to bed when he fired straight at Hart as the Croatian seemed surprised himself not to have been flagged offside. Hart also kept out a Ronaldo header and fierce drive from the edge of the box as Madrid pressed.

Bale then saw a looping header come off the bar as, just as in the first leg, Madrid constantly caused City problems from set-pieces.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini turned to the pace of Raheem Sterling and Kelechi Iheanacho in place of the ineffectual Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas for the final quarter.

And Pellegrini's men nearly snatched the goal they needed a minute from time when top scorer Sergio Aguero's first serious effort of the tie dipped onto the roof of the net.

Real keeper Keylor Navas then injured himself in scurrying from his goal to clear a long through ball.

Yet, despite a frantic finale, Madrid continued its record of not conceding a goal at home in the Champions League this season to progress to its 14th European Cup final.

Key Opta stats

- Madrid has reached its 14th European Cup/Champions League final, a record in the competition.
- This will be the third time in the last four years that the Champions League final has been contested by teams from the same nation.
- Keylor Navas has kept 11 clean sheets in his 12 Champions League appearances, including all six at the Bernabeu.
- City has been eliminated by Spanish opposition for the third consecutive Champions League season.
- For the third season in a row, a manager has reached the Champions League final in his first season in the competition (Diego Simeone 2014, Luis Enrique 2015, Zinedine Zidane 2016).
- Madrid has equalled Arsenal's record from 2005-06 of keeping 10 clean sheets in a single Champions League campaign.

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