Real Madrid reach Champions League final
By Nesha Starcevic ,AP
May 1, 2014, 12:03 am TWN
MUNICH -- Sergio Ramos has his redemption, Cristiano Ronaldo has his goal record and Real Madrid is one win away from the long-awaited “Decima.”
Real Madrid carried out coach Carlo Ancelotti's game plan to perfection and routed title holder Bayern Munich 4-0 on Tuesday to reach its first Champions League final in 12 years. Madrid will play either Chelsea or city rival Atletico Madrid in the May 24 final in Lisbon.
Madrid, a 5-0 aggregate winner over Bayern, will be seeking a record 10th title — “La Decima” in Spanish.
“We played a perfect game in the first half, we defended very well and pressed very high,” Ancelotti said. “We used the space we had for counters, with some great passing.”
Madrid had never won in Munich in 10 previous matches, losing nine of them. But this time, Ancelotti's team put its stamp on the game early and struck with awesome efficiency — something its Italian coach had promised ahead of the match.
Madrid's sweeping, fast counterattacks paced by Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Angel Di Maria, along with its tenacious tackling when Bayern tried to come out of the hosts' own half, were a huge problem for Bayern's defense. However, the first two goals came from set pieces, as well as the last.
Ramos, who missed the crucial penalty when Madrid lost to Bayern at the same stage in 2012 in a shootout, scored those first two goals and Ronaldo added two more to break the Champions League season record with a tally of 16.
Ramos headed the first from a corner taken by Luka Modric in the 16th and nodded in the second four minutes later after a free kick from Angel Di Maria.
“We prepared the set pieces and we used them to make things easy for us,” Ancelotti said. “We knew they defend with a zone, not man to man.”
Ronaldo made it 3-0 to Madrid in the 34th minute after a perfectly executed counterattack and completed the victory with a free kick in the 89th as he shattered Barcelona star Lionel Messi's record of 14 goals in a season.
“Goals are great, satisfying on a personal level, but what matters is what we did as a team. The overall result was deserved,” Ramos said. “It's a dream come true. It's a dream game, fantastic for all Madrid fans.”
After the final whistle, Madrid players put on T-shirts with the words “Now for the 10th.”