Real set up all-Madrid Champions League final as Man City limp out

Real Madrid 1 Manchester City 0 (agg: 1-0)

A deflected Gareth Bale strike ended Manchester City's Champions League challenge and sent Real Madrid through to face city rivals Atletico in the final.

City midfielder Fernando inadvertently diverted Bale's 20th-minute strike into his own net at the Bernabeu to hand Real a 1-0 win both on the night and on aggregate.

City never found momentum after captain Vincent Kompany was forced off yet again early on and they had Joe Hart to thank for keeping them in contention right until the end.

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero rues a missed chance at the Santiago Bernabeu. Photo: Nick Potts/PA
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero rues a missed chance at the Santiago Bernabeu. Photo: Nick Potts/PA

Hart produced a string of impressive saves to deny a Real side bolstered by the return of Cristiano Ronaldo and that kept City hopes alive they could nick an away goal and with it victory.

But it was not to be as City never threatened with any regularity.

Their night could hardly have got off to a worse start as Kompany pulled up with what seemed a thigh injury after just eight minutes.

In a sight that has become all too familiar in an injury-plagued campaign for the Belgian, Kompany went down after overrunning the ball and immediately signalled to the bench.

It was quickly apparent his night was over and the player looked crestfallen as he gingerly rose to his feet, limped off and handed the armband to Yaya Toure.

That completely undid what had been a confident start by City and they struggled to gain any meaningful possession for a prolonged spell.

Real turned up the pressure with Ronaldo, relishing the chance to run at Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala, heading over and sending another shot off-target.

City were unable to stem the tide and the hosts broke through as Bale burst into the area on the right and his fierce shot took a slight but critical deflection off Fernando. It flew into the roof of the net over the diving Hart.

Gareth Bale scores the only goal of the game. Photo: Adam Davy/PA
Gareth Bale scores the only goal of the game. Photo: Adam Davy/PA

It might have got worse for City as Pepe poked the ball past Hart from a Toni Kroos free-kick but the flag was raised for offside.

City struggled to muster a response but Jesus Navas and Bacary Sagna both got into good positions only to fail to pick out the isolated Sergio Aguero.

City's one good moment of the first half came just before the break as Fernandinho cut inside from the left but his powerful drive struck the base of the post.

The visitors needed a rousing team talk at half-time from their outgoing manager Manuel Pellegrini, but as the second period began it was Hart that kept them in the game.

Hart got his body in the way to deny Luka Modric after the rest of the defence had switched off and then twice saved from Ronaldo.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo handles the ball into the goal following an offside call at the Santiago Bernabeu. Photo: Nick Potts/PA
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo handles the ball into the goal following an offside call at the Santiago Bernabeu. Photo: Nick Potts/PA

Bale went close with a header that rebounded off the crossbar before the extraordinary sight of Ronaldo catching the ball and pushing it into the net - but he had already been flagged offside.

Real should have put the game out of sight but the longer they went without scoring, signs of frustration began to creep in. Kroos appeared to hit out at Fernandinho off the ball and niggly fouls crept into their game.

Knowing a goal would change everything, City pushed late on but after Aguero sent a long-range shot over, their hopes faded.

More in this Section

Harry Gregg mourners hear how he ‘wanted to be remembered as a footballer’Harry Gregg mourners hear how he ‘wanted to be remembered as a footballer’

Anthony Daly: Limerick would relish sowing doubt in Cork mindsAnthony Daly: Limerick would relish sowing doubt in Cork minds

Sexton admires the Farrells' ability to set aside father-son relationshipSexton admires the Farrells' ability to set aside father-son relationship

Devin Toner's reintegration now total after World Cup blowDevin Toner's reintegration now total after World Cup blow


Lifestyle

The annual Members Exhibition now underway at the Lavit Gallery in Cork features 92 works from 72 artists.The exhibition runs until March 7.Under the hammer: Your guide to upcoming auctions

There’s an oriental theme at the James Adam ‘At Home’ auction in Dublin, says Des O’SullivanAuctions: Sale full of eastern promise

Sales of artisan sourdough bread are on the rise. It's all very well if you're happy to pay for a chewy substantial loaf but does it have any real health benefits? Áilín Quinlan talks to the expertsFlour power: The rise and rise of sourdough bread

Rachel Gotto has suffered more than most, from the death of her brother and husband to her cancer diagnosis and dependency on prescription drugs, writes Lorna SigginsHow Rachel Gotto is finding joy in the small things

More From The Irish Examiner