It turns out that Real Madrid needed just one goal to tame Manchester City in a rather draggy match in the Bernabeu; and with that 1-0 aggregate score, Los Blancos will set up yet another Madrid derby in the Champions League Final.
The goal did come with a considerable amount of luck too. Gareth Bale, making a cross to find Ronaldo and co., finds his ball deflected by Fernando Francisco. But that went totally awry for the City defender as it went into the top corner of his own net, and Bale wheeled away, celebrating.
But there was also a considerable amount of flaws in City’s game plan. They were timid, all too cautious and appeared afraid to press high, and as such were unable register a single shot on target. Even in the first leg, they managed only one shot on target albeit with a 91st minute free-kick.
But for the most expensively assembled team of players in English football, their attack was never executed with conviction.
Real was not one to boast either; their players hardly seemed formidable even on familiar ground. Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to have barely recovered from his hamstring problem, and the team appeared to drop their performances in order to accommodate their star.
This was probably the reason why City boss Manuel Pellegrini would feel doubtful towards the UEFA match statistics. Unconvincing as it may be to everyone who was watching, Zinedine Zidane’s men had apparently registered 15 attempts on goal.
Luka Modric applied a poor finish early in the second half, as he was probably suspecting that he was on an offside position. Joe Hart kept out Ronaldo with a couple of saves and Bale turned a header against a post from a second-half corner.
Then, Pellegrini brought on Raheem Sterling and Kelechi Iheanacho but the game drifted to its finale without any real sense that City might conjure up some late drama.
Perhaps putting in an effort to entertain the home crowd, Ronaldo rose up close to the post, caught the ball with both hands and dunked it into the net. The Portugese was offside and he knew it, and was able to share a light-hearted moment with City keeper Joe Hart afterwards. Still, it does offer light relief even for the commentators watching a match that seemed to drag on for far too long.
Either way, there is a reason for the entire Spain capital would rejoice after Aletico withstood a Bayern assault in the Allianz Arena. For the second time in three seasons, it is an all-Madrid final; as it was 2 years ago in Lisbon, so it will be soon on 28 May in Milan.