Champions League: Real Madrid eliminates Manchester City during penalties and will face Bayern Munich in the semifinals

Goalkeeper Lunin was the star in the penalty shootout and put his team back in the top four of the tournament, where they will face Tomas Tuchel's team, who left Arsenal behind.

Real Madrid again eliminated Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, the defending champion, on penalties to reach the UEFA Champions League semifinals. The Merengue team will face Bayern Munich for a place in the final after the Bavarians eliminated English side Arsenal. Both teams will meet again since the semifinals of the 2017/2018 season, where the Spaniards prevailed with a 4-3 aggregate in the series.

With these results, the two semifinals of this edition are already known: Real Madrid- Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain (PSG)- Borussia Dortmund, whose winners will face each other at the mythical Wembley Stadium on June 1.

Ancelotti took revenge on Guardiola

Real Madrid and Manchester City had already met in the two previous seasons. First, in the 2021/2022 season's semifinals, the white team managed to advance agonizingly after reversing the series at the Santiago Bernabeu with Karim Benzema and Rodrygo as protagonists.

A year later, the English team took revenge and eliminated Madrid at the same stage with a resounding 4-0 win in the second leg. Curiously, in both cases, the team that advanced in that series lifted Old Big Ears.

On this occasion, the first leg had left an electrifying 3-3, so everything was still to be seen at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. Guardiola's team started with their characteristic rhythm but without creating danger in the first minutes. As in the match at the Bernabeu, the high pressure caused a lack of balance in defense, which was quickly exploited by Carlo Ancelotti's team.

On 12 minutes, Jude Bellingham summoned Zinedine Zidane to give a masterful control and open for Federico Valverde. The Uruguayan gave the ball into space to Vinicius Jr., who crossed for Rodrygo's two-time finish. Real Madrid took the lead only to suffer for the rest of the match.

Indeed, especially during the second half, those in attendance and the millions of television viewers around the world witnessed a total domination by Manchester City. The Spanish side held on until the 76th minute when Kevin De Bruyne tied the game. The Belgian was to rue seconds later as he missed an unbeatable chance to make it 2-1.

The match remained the same until the 90 minutes, with City dominating the game, which was also maintained during the 30 minutes of extra time.

The penalty shootout series could not have started better for Guardiola's team. Julián Álvarez's goal and Luka Modric's miss gave the Celeste fans hope. However, young Andriy Lunin showed his high penalty efficiency and saved the next two from Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic.

Bellingham, Lucas Vázquez and Nacho Fernández confirmed Madrid's lead until the final penalty from Antonio Rüdiger. The German took a deep breath before successfully crossing his shot and taking Real Madrid into their third consecutive semifinal.

"Penalties are a gamble, but I had confidence in the players. They were telling me they were going to win, Lunin was saying he was going to save. In the end it worked out well. I saw all the penalties, I wanted to stand back a bit... because it did. We took penalties very well and I was very surprised by Rüdiger. We didn't shoot penalties well this season, but we did well," said Ancelotti after the game. He revealed that Guardiola wished him luck for what's next, in this case, a semi-final against Bayern Munich.

Bayern Munich aims at the Champions League to save the season

The German side is betting everything on lifting the trophy it last conquered in 2020, given that it has already lost the Bundesliga, was eliminated from the German Cup, and was also defeated in the Super Cup at the beginning of the season. This competition is the only one left for Thomas Tuchel's side.

After a 2-2 draw in the first leg, the Bavarians hosted Mikel Arteta's Arsenal, who are in great form in the Premier League.

The match was very similar to the first leg, with two teams exchanging possession and some unclear approaches. Arsenal took more control of the game thanks to Martin Odegaard, who triangulated with Declan Rice and Jorginho to control the midfield for a few minutes.

However, Bayern Munich struck first. In the 76th minute, Joshua Kimmich finished a move he started after Raphaël Guerreiro's cross to make it 1-0.

The goal was too much for Arteta's side, which had no dangerous approaches while trailing. It finally put Bayern Munich in the semifinals for the first time since the 2019/2020 season, when they were crowned champions.