After two incredibly exciting days of soccer in the UEFA Champions League semifinals, the visiting teams of the second leg are the ones that prevail. After a lot of hype around the game at Camp Nou, with Chelsea striker Fernando Torres speaking out that the best team doesn’t always win, he noted that the Blues did what they had to do (with only 10 men) to beat Barcelona, whom he labeled the best team in the world.
Today, the drama came from The Bernebeau, where Bayern Munich lost their aggregate lead early, with two goals (pen 6′ & 14′) by Cristiano Ronaldo inside 15 minutes. All it took was a penalty in the 27th minute for Munich’s Arjen Robben to bring it back to an aggregate tie, 3-all. The match would remain scoreless, try as both teams did.
Through extra time, neither team could make much of what seemed to be worthy chances. Real was nearly awarded a penalty in extra time, but the referee instead carded Granero only five minutes before the end of time. With both teams scoring equal goals, and equal away goals (1-1), the match was forced into penalty shootout, and if your palms were sweaty at all during the prior 120 minutes, you were in for a real treat.
Albala netted the first penalty, to put Munich up. Ronaldo would have his kick blocked, only to see Gomez net again, now 2-0 Munich. Surely Kaka would bring it back, but a mid-level shot was within reach for Neuer again. Then in a glimmer of hope for Madrid, consecutive misses and a goal by Xabi Alonso would bring it all down to Sergio Ramos. A stutter-step and a quick strike sent the ball sailing up 30 rows, putting the game and the fate of Bayern Munich in the hands of Bastian Schweinsteiger. A powerful strike to the top left corner would seal the deal.
Bayern Munich heads to their home town for the Champions League Final on May 19th at 11:45AM PDT. Munich will be without some key players, including David Alaba, Holger Badstuber and Luiz Gustavo, while Chelsea faces suspensions of players Branislav Ivanović, Raul Meireles, Ramires and John Terry.
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