Madrid outclassed but sneak into semis

Two Marco Reus goals weren’t enough for Borussia Dortmund as Real Madrid lost 2-0 on the night, but made the semi-finals 3-2 on aggregate.

Cristiano Ronaldo was left on the bench by Carlo Ancelotti after complaining of knee trouble, so Di Maria came in to replace the Ballon d’Or winner. Asier Illarramendi also started in a midfield three, whilst Iker Casillas made his usual European berth. The German outfit meanwhile welcomed back Robert Lewandowski after he missed the first leg through suspension.

With a 3-0 deficit from the first leg, it was up to Jurgen Klopp’s men to come out of the blocks and get an early goal – and the Bundesliga side were very much in the ascendancy during the opening exchanges, having a monopoly on the possession.

Los Blancos’ backline was staying solid though, and forming a good base from which the rest of the side could build. And it was one of those defenders who created the first great opportunity. A cross from Fabio Coentrao hit the hand of Lukasz Piszczek inside the area, and the visitors had a penalty on 15 minutes. With Ronaldo injured, up stepped Di Maria, but the Argentine winger’s spot kick was saved well by Roman Weidenfeller.

That seemed to spur on the hosts, and soon after they had a gilt-edged chance to claw their way back into the tie. A beautiful piece of play from Lewandowski set up Reus, who squared for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but the Armenian forward struck his effort from six yards wide of the post.

But that miss didn’t look to have cost the Schwarzgelben as they quickly made up for that profligacy. A terrible back pass from Pepe laid Reus in on goal, and the Germany international calmly rounded Iker Casillas before tapping into an empty net.

Madrid were struggling, and the hosts very nearly grabbed a second on the half hour. A delightful free kick from Reus found the head of Mats Hummels, but the defender’s effort was saved wonderfully by Casillas.

And it was another mistake that gave Dortmund even more hope of making the semi-finals at the end of the first half. A dreadful pass from Illarramendi saw Reus bare down on, the forward laid in Lewandowski, but the Poland international’s effort struck the post. Luckily for the hosts however, Reus was following in, and struck home from close range.

After the break, the sense of belief amongst the supporters at the Westfalenstadion was palpable. But it was in fact the away team that had the first real effort of the half. Gareth Bale, who had been anonymous up until then, cut in from the right and forced Weidenfeller into a smart save, low to his right.

Dortmund’s high pressing was a constant source of frustration for Los Merengues, as they forced the Liga giants into stupid mistakes all over the pitch. World Class players are exactly that for a reason though, and the individual brilliance of Bale almost eased the nerves. The Welsh wide man’s cross/shot however, missed the far post and the onrushing Karim Benzema.

Still Klopp’s men came though, and they almost pulled the tie level on aggregate just past the hour mark. A superb run and pass from Reus found Mkhitaryan, but the former Shakhtar man could only hit the post after rounding the goalkeeper.

A mixture of poor finishing and Iker Casillas were keeping Madrid in the tie, as the Spain captain saved, once again, from Mkhitaryan and then Kevin Grosskreutz within the space of a few minutes – both efforts were from inside the area, and should have seen the hosts go level on aggregate.

 It wasn’t to be though, as Madrid, amazingly, held out for a 3-2 aggregate win and a place in the Champions League semi-finals.

Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Real Madrid (2-3 agg.)

Scorers: Reus 24, 37 (BD)

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Friedrich, Hummels, Kirch, Piszczek (Aubameyang 82), Durm, Reus, Jojić, Grosskreutz, Lewandowski, Mkhitaryan

Real Madrid: Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Alonso, Ilarra (Isco 46), Modric; Bale, Benzema (Varane 90), Di Maria (Casemiro 73)

Tags Borussia Dortmund
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