[QODLink]
Sport
Bayern beat Real on penalties
Bayern Munich will face Chelsea in UEFA Champions League final after beating Real Madrid in a penalty shoot-out.
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2012 00:34
Bayern Munich keeper Manuel Neuer saved penalties from Ronaldo and Kaka during the shoot-out [AFP]


Bayern Munich beat Real Madrid 3-1 on penalties on Wednesday to book its place against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League final following a memorable contest between two European football giant longtime European rivals.

Bayern came to Madrid with a 2-1 lead, but Cristiano Ronaldo looked to have put the home side on its way to the final with two early goals, but just like its Spanish rival Barcelona the evening before, Madrid faltered and Arjen Robben's 27th-minute penalty leveled the score over two legs at 3-3.

In the penalty shoot-out, Manuel Neuer saved from Ronaldo and Kaka to put Bayern on course after it had scored its opening two kicks, but counterpart Iker Casillas denied Toni Kroos and Philipp Lahm to drag Madrid back into it.

After Xabi Alonso scored Madrid's first, Sergio Ramos sent his shot high over the bar and Sebastian Schweinsteiger sent his effort straight down the middle to ensure four-time champions Bayern will play the final on its home ground.

The final is on May 19 at the Allianz Arena in Munich.

"It's a big blow for us. It was a very exciting game, but penalties are always a lottery," said Casillas said.

"We played well, but Bayern are a great team. We now have to concentrate on the league."

Madrid's 2-1 win over Barcelona at the weekend gave Jose Mourinho's side a seven-point lead in the league with four games remaining, but its wait for a first Champions League title since 2002 goes on.

Fast paced game

The 20th meeting between Madrid and Bayern maintained a relentless pace in the first half.

Madrid charged out into an early lead after David Alaba handled when sliding to block Angel Di Maria's cross. Ronaldo showed no jitters as he stepped up to drill the spot kick into the right of goal with goalkeeper Neuer guessing left.

Bayern could easily have cancelled out Ronaldo's opener minutes later as Robben shot over with only Casillas to beat.

Ronaldo's 10th goal of the tournament made it 2-0 following an excellent build up that saw the Spanish leaders spread the ball around with Sami Khedira finding Mesut Oezil, who spotted a wide open Ronaldo outside the area to coolly pick his spot low and to the left.

While Madrid thrived off the break, Bayern's reliance on possession and wingers Franck Ribery and Robben finally paid off in the 26th when Pepe was late to cover Mario Gomez, the Portugal centerback booked fouling the Germany striker down as they chased a ball into the area.

Casillas guessed right and got a touch but could not keep Robben's powerful spot kick out.

Ronaldo and Karim Benzema continued to create problems for Bayern as Benzema curled around the far post after the half hour mark, while Neuer denied Ronaldo from long-range.

Casillas saved from Gomez moments later before capping an electric first half by diving to push Robben's free kick from just outside the area wide.

The European heavyweights kept pushing forward in the second half but, with the stakes rising, neither wanted to expose itself and the chances dwindled, with Gomez heading wide before Neuer pushed Benzema's shot out in the 56th.

Ronaldo couldn't muster up much either as he tamely sent several free kicks straight at Neuer. Gomez wasted a golden opportunity for Bayern when he delayed his shot too long in the 86th, allowing Sergio Ramos and Khedira to
smother the chance.

Extra-time

The tempo dipped dramatically in extra-time, when Thomas Mueller replaced Ribery and Gonzalo Higuain came on for Benzema.

Madrid conjured up a few more opportunities than its opponent with substitute Kaka misplaying a fine chance in the 112th.

Alaba and Gomez scored Bayern's first two penalties to pressure Madrid, which came apart with its first final appearance in 10 years so close.

After Neuer's early heroics in the penalty shoot-out, Casillas almost rescued his side with two saves of his own from Toni Kroos and Phillip Lahm, but Sergio Ramos then blazed over for the home side, leaving Schweinsteiger to claim his moment of glory.

The win came at a cost for the German side, who will be without Alaba, Holger Badstuber and Luiz Gustavo in the final after they picked up bookings.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.