Real Madrid defeats Manchester City in penalty shootout to reach Champions League semifinals

Real Madrid will face Bayern Munich in the Champions League semifinals after defeating Manchester City in a tense penalty shootout on Wednesday.

Defender Antonio Rüdiger struck the decisive blow for Real Madrid, burying his penalty into the bottom-left corner before his teammates piled on top of him in celebration.

That saw a thrilling tie featuring eight goals across the two games draw to a close as the 14-time European champion triumphed 4-3 on penalties.

“Madrid always deliver, that’s part of football,” said Los Blancos midfielder Federico Valverde. “The opposition came into the game stronger, playing better football than us and were favorites.

“But we are Madrid and we dug in, defended well and fought hard. That’s how we won the game.”

After a thrilling first leg between the two teams ended 3-3 in Madrid, City was fancied to advance in what transpired to be a night of high drama at the Etihad Stadium.

Real gained the upper hand in the tie following Rodyrgo’s well-worked goal in the 12th minute.

Antonio Rüdiger sends his penalty past Ederson. - Martin Rickett/PA
Antonio Rüdiger sends his penalty past Ederson. - Martin Rickett/PA

A superb piece of control from Jude Bellingham set up the prelude to the goal, allowing Valverde and Vinícius Jr. to combine and send in a cross to Rodrygo, who scored with his second attempt after his first shot was parried back to his feet by City goalkeeper Ederson.

City pushed for an equalizer, and minutes later Erling Haaland struck the bar with a header before Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish also went close.

With Real happy to sit deep and defend, the home side continued to press in the second half and was rewarded when De Bruyne slammed a shot into the top of the net after Jérémy Doku’s probing cross into the box.

De Bruyne had further chances to win the game for Man City but Real’s rear guard stood firm and the game remained 1-1, 4-4 on aggregate, after extra-time.

In the penalty shootout, Luka Modrić’s first attempt was saved by Ederson but City’s advantage disappeared when Bernardo Silva struck his effort straight at a static Andriy Lunin.

The Real goalkeeper then saved Mateo Kovačić’s penalty to swing the contest in his side’s favor. Lucas Vázquez, Phil Foden, Nacho, and Ederson all scored with their attempts before Rüdiger stepped up and sent Real into the semifinals.

Real Madrid will play Bayern Munich in the Champions League final four. - Naomi Baker/Getty Images
Real Madrid will play Bayern Munich in the Champions League final four. - Naomi Baker/Getty Images

“We showed the attitude and commitment demanded by this jersey,” manager Carlo Ancelotti said after the game.

“This is a very special competition for us and we always deliver something that people are not expecting us to produce. Everyone was writing us off but we’re still here.”

For City, the chances of once again winning a treble – the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup – have gone, making this weekend’s FA Cup semifinal against Chelsea even more important.

“Congratulations to Real Madrid - they defended so deep with incredible solidarity,” said City manager Pep Guardiola. “We did everything. I don’t have any regrets about what we have done.

“Always as managers we try to create more and concede less in every single game because that helps to win. We did everything, defensively and offensively … We played exceptionally in all departments. Unfortunately, we could not win. It is what it is.”

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