Real Madrid: How the football world reacted to Los Blancos’ extraordinary win in the Champions League semi-finals

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The last time the two sides faced each other was in Kyiv in 2018, when Salah left the pitch in tears after being injured in a tackle from Sergio Ramos. Real Madrid eventually won 3-1 and won their 13th European Cup.

Now, in Paris – after the final was moved from St Petersburg following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – the Reds and Los Blancos will meet again.

Real Madrid, who failed to make a single shot on target all evening, trailed 5-3 on aggregate as time approached 90 minutes on Wednesday.

Then two goals – one on the 90-minute mark and one in added time – from substitute Rodrygo left the score on aggregate and dragged the game into extra time.

Carried by the noisy atmosphere which had been established around the Bernabéu, the assault of Real continued, giving a penalty in the 95th minute. Karim Benzema has stepped up, converted and propelled his side to the Champions League final.

Like the fans in the stadium, the reaction in the Spanish newspapers was delirious. “God must come and explain it,” said the Spanish newspaper BRAND.
“Real Madrid come from another planet,” reads the Front page of AS.

Mundo Deportivo, a Barcelona-based newspaper more traditionally associated with Real’s arch-rivals Barca, headlined ‘Groundhog Day’, in reference to Los Merengues’ remarkable run of comebacks at the Bernabéu in the Champions League Round of 16.

In the quarter-finals, a second-half hat-trick in Benzema’s second leg beat Paris Saint-Germain and overturned a 2-0 deficit on aggregate. In the semi-final against Chelsea, a late Rodrygo goal forced the tie in extra time before Benzema scored the decisive goal in the 96th minute.

“I can’t say we’re used to living that kind of life, but what happened tonight happened against Chelsea and also against Paris,” Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said, according to the BBC.

“If you have to say why, it’s the history of this club that keeps us going when it looks like we’re gone.

“The game was almost over and we managed to find the last energy we had. We played a good game against a strong rival. When we managed to equalize, we had a psychological advantage in extra time.”

It was “another crazy night,” Real midfielder Federico Valverde said, according to the BBC.

“When City scored, it felt like everything was falling apart – all that effort and fighting at every turn, it was wasted.

“But the fans helped us a lot to keep fighting until the end. When the goals are scored, you think ‘we’re going to win today’,” he said.

And true to the chants Real fans sang in chorus around the Bernabéu — “hasta el final, vamos Real” (“Until the end, let’s go to Real”) and “sí, se puede” (“yes, we can”) — Madrid team pulled off another miraculous result for the ages.

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