Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane praised his players for fighting up to the very last minute, as the Spanish side held on against a threatening Bayern Munich side to progress to the Champions League final for a third consecutive season.
Madrid went into the game with an 2-1 advantage from the first leg in Germany, but Bayern instantly let the home side know they were not going out without a fight, as Joshua Kimmich hit the back of the net with less than three minutes on the clock. Madrid, however, hit back soon after through Karim Benzema and the game opened up.
The sides went in level at half time, the score at 1-1, with Madrid still winning the clash on aggregate. And it was Benzema that pounced first in the second half, as he capitalised on an awful error from Bayern keeper Sven Ulreich.
The visitors were not giving in though and James Rodriguez slotted home from a tight angle to give Bayern a lifeline. And with that the Bundesliga side hit Madrid with attack after attack for the final half an hour, as they went in search of the goal to put them through to the final. However, Madrid held strong, fending off a total of 20 shots with Keylor Navas making eight saves.
Manager Zidane was pleased with the fight from his side as they weathered the storm and booked a place in the Champions League final, with a 4-3 win on aggregate.
“In football you have to suffer and especially in the Champions League,” Zidane said, as quoted by BBC Sport.
“We know you can’t get to the final of it without suffering, and it’s nicer this way. It’s not great for your heart, though!
“It’s in the DNA of the club. We never stop fighting up to the very last minute, just as the Bayern players did tonight.
“This is our third final but we suffered a lot. At the end, we were strong and we lived with the pressure. We don’t give up and when you see Bayern’s desire, we never gave up because we wanted the win. Even if they played better, our desire was bigger.”
The 45-year-old gave credit to Bayern, and also to two other sides Real have bested this season in Juventus and PSG, as he admitted that Madrid have had to ‘suffer’ to earn their place in the final.
He continued: “In the end we played against a huge team. We are happy because we have beaten three great teams in the knockout rounds.
“Without suffering, this cannot be done. We’re going to rest well for the final. Now we can be very happy, I think we have suffered too much, but it is beautiful too.”