MADRID – Real Madrid reached their 14th European Cup final and crushed Manchester City’s hopes of a maiden title after Gareth Bale’s deflected effort secured a 1-0 victory in the second leg of their Champions League last four clash on Wednesday.
Bale’s right-footed shot ricocheted off City midfielder Fernando on its way into the top corner to break the deadlock in the tie in 20th minute, with Madrid going on to dominate the encounter despite failing to add to their lead.
The 1-0 aggregate result, after last week’s goalless first leg stalemate, set up a mouthwatering final on May 28 between Real and their city neighbours Atletico Madrid, who they beat to lift their 10th European crown in 2014.
“The players deserve this,” said Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, who has the chance to crown his first season as coach with club football’s most coveted prize.
“Everyone worked hard and that’s why we’re in the final. I’m delighted for what has happened. The final will be perfectly even, but now we’re going to enjoy this, it’s an important day.”
For City, however, it was a tame ending to their European campaign as they failed to force Madrid keeper Keylor Navas into a single save.
While Bale enjoyed good fortune in forcing the goal, the Wales international nonetheless produced a blockbuster European performance. (Reuters)