FC Barcelona heroes off to Wembley after eliminating Real Madrid (1-1)
Barça have qualified for the Champions League final at the expense of Real Madrid following tonight’s draw at the Camp Nou. Pedro scored the winner for a side that dominated the possession and produced most of the chances.
Barcelona (FCB).- The series of four FC Barcelona v Real Madrid matches in 18 days came to an end with the Camp Nou showdown to decide which of the teams is going to the Champions League final at Wembley. As far as attacking football was concerned, it was the liveliest encounter of the four, with Real Madrid obliged to push forward after losing the first leg 2-0 at the Bernabeu stadium. Nevertheless, the home side, Barça still produced as many as six clear-cut chances in the first 45 minutes alone, with Real Madrid creating very little serious danger.
Things were tighter in the second half. Barça and Real Madrid both found the target, but the 1-1 scoreline only benefits the Catalans, who can start getting ready for the trip to London on May 28.
The events of the previous three encounters have sent the tension between these two teams into fever pitch, but what Barça needed here was a settled game in which they could defend their two-goal lead. Real Madrid\u2019s ambitious approach was totally different to what we saw in the first leg, and on a rain-sodden pitch, FC Barcelona took longer than usual to settle into their typical passing game.
It took 21 minutes for the first shot to hit the target, a Busquets header from inside the area that was directed straight at Iker Casillas. Then it was time for the famous \u2018MVP\u2019 to come into action, with Messi (3), Villa and Pedro all coming frustratingly close. Barça were in control, the Camp Nou was roaring, and Real Madrid would have almost certainly been at least a goal down if it hadn\u2019t been for some terrific goalkeeping from Casillas..
Another downpour had soaked the pitch even more as the second half got under way, with Madrid still trying to come forward, but Barça catching them out time and again on the counter attack. Which is precisely how their goal was created in the 53rd minute, with Valdés supplying the ball to Alves, and then the Brazilian threading it on to Iniesta to supply a magnificent assist for Pedro to slot the ball home in style. The three goal cushion seemed enough for the Barça fans to start celebrating with \u2018olés\u2019 as their players held onto the ball for long periods of possession that Real Madrid could only break down with some frequently over-feisty challenges.
Real Madrid equalise with first chance
Real Madrid needed three goals, and they got one through Marcelo in the 68th minute after Di Maria had hit the post. This was the first of just three shots on target for the suspended Jose Mourinho\u2019s team, and was the only one that would find the net. For long periods, the all-whites simply couldn\u2019t get near the ball, with Xavi and Iniesta giving yet another master class in passing football, with substitute Keita joining the party later on.
But there was another treat in store for the joyous Camp Nou, for right at the end of the match, Guardiola sent on Abidal, who was deservedly welcomed onto the pitch with a standing ovation. This is his final too. It is all of ours. The final whistle blew, but the players stayed on the field for many minutes after. This was moment to savour. The Camp Nou saluted its heroes as they went on a lap of honour. And they deserve all the applause they got. These are the heroes that have taken FC Barcelona to Wembley. The next team of the final will be decided upon the match between Manchester United and Schalke 04.
1-0 Pedro (min 53)
1-1 Marcelo (min 68)