Pep Guardiola admitted defeat was tough to take after Real Madrid dramatically snatched a place in the Champions League final from his Manchester City side.

The Spanish side produced an astonishing late fightback in their semi-final second leg at the Bernabeu Stadium on Wednesday to win 3-1 on the night and prevail 6-5 on aggregate after extra-time.

City had gone 5-3 ahead overall after Riyad Mahrez scored the first goal of the night after 73 minutes but Rodrygo replied with a quickfire double in the closing moments of normal time.

  • Four minutes of madness: How Man City blew it
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Karim Benzema then settled a compelling tie with his third goal of it, from the penalty spot, in the fifth minute of extra-time.

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Real Madrid’s second goal in as many minutes against Manchester City in the semi-final of the Champions League left Simon Thomas, Julian Warren and Darren Ambrose stunned in the Sky Sports News Studio!

The result sent Real through to a final date with Liverpool in Paris later this month and prolonged the long wait of City, last year’s runners-up, for European glory.

  • Real complete epic late comeback against Man City to reach CL final
  • Pep: Defeat tough to take | Carlo: Real’s history keeps us going
  • CL hits and misses: Man City collapse | Rodrygo’s night

City boss Guardiola said: “I have had defeats in the Champions League, I had tough defeats at Barcelona when we could not reach the final.

“But it is tough for us, I cannot deny that. We were so close to the Champions League final.

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Darren Ambrose says Manchester City must now go on to win the Premier League following their defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final

“We didn’t play well in the first half, we didn’t find our game. The second half was much better and after the goal, we had control.

“We found our game but unfortunately we could not finish. The players gave everything. We were so close.”

Real have enjoyed a remarkable run through this season’s competition having also come from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in the knockout stages.

“It has happened many times in their history,” said Guardiola, whose side must now regroup ahead of a crucial Premier League game against Newcastle this weekend.

“This will have a positive impact on the Real Madrid players but I don’t know about us really. We didn’t suffer much until they scored, but we didn’t play our best.”

Timeline: How the semi-final turned

Heading for the Champions League final with just minutes to go in the Bernabeu, Manchester City lost a two-goal lead and were beaten in extra-time by Real Madrid.

It came from nowhere. It was extraordinary.

Real Madrid 0-1 Man City (agg: 3-5)

88: OFF THE LINE!!! How have City not doubled the lead?

Jack Grealish motors down the left and rolls a cross-shot into the middle. Thibaut Courtois is beaten but Eder Militao is back on the line to clear. Somehow Phil Foden doesn’t force the ball home from a yard out.

  • How the teams lined up | Match stats
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Real Madrid 0-1 Man City (agg: 3-5)

89: GREAT SAVE!! Grealish is toying with them down the left!

He checks past two defenders in the box and drills a low finish that Courtois deflects behind with a brilliant save with his boot. Very unlucky that from Grealish.

GOAL! Real Madrid 1-1 Man City (Rodrygo, 90) (agg: 4-5)

90: HANG ON! A NERVY FEW MINUTES REMAIN FOR CITY!

Six minutes to be precise.

City have work to do. A ball gets pumped to the back post where Benzema knocks it back across goal. Rodrygo is quickest to react and forces the ball home!

GOAL! Real Madrid 2-1 Man City (Rodrygo, 90+1) (agg: 5-5)

90+1: I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! HOW?

SIMPLY RIDICULOUS! REAL MADRID HAVE DONE IT AGAIN!

Real Madrid are level in the tie. A cross from the right leaves Manchester City all over the shop. Up pops the substitute to head home from close range.

This is another chapter in the Manchester City Champions League failures.

  • Real complete epic late comeback against Man City to reach CL final
  • Pep: Defeat tough to take | Carlo: Real’s history keeps us going
  • CL hits and misses: Man City collapse | Rodrygo’s night

Real Madrid 2-1 Man City (agg: 5-5)

93: PENALTY TO REAL MADRID!!!! Dias on Benzema.

Camavinga finds Benzema in the box and Dias is just slightly late. There’s enough contact for the referee to point to the spot.

Benzema steps up…

GOAL! Real Madrid 3-1 Man City (Benzema, 95) (agg: 6-5)

95: INCREDIBLE… REAL MADRID ARE AHEAD IN THE TIE FOR THE FIRST TIME!!

Benzema stays cool and rolls one into the corner. What has happened to Manchester City?

This is a collapse of epic proportions.

Real Madrid 3-1 Man City (agg: 6-5)

FT: REAL MADRID ARE INTO THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL!

Put May 28 firmly in your diary. It’s Liverpool vs Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Paris! Yes, please.

A quite incredible comeback. One of the craziest we’ve ever seen.

Manchester City were moonwalking into the final with six minutes to go. Grealish then missed two big chances before Rodrygo scored twice to take it to extra time. Benzema then netted from the spot.

A quite astonishing choke from Pep Guardiola’s boys.

Ancelotti: The history of Real keeps us going

Real, who are bidding for a record-extending 14th European crown, beat Liverpool in the 2018 final.

The same two sides also met in the 1981 showpiece, which was also played in Paris and won by the English side.

Real manager Carlo Ancelotti, who last year was managing Liverpool’s neighbours Everton, said: “The game was close to being finished but we managed to find the last energy we had.

“We played a good game against a strong rival. When we were able to equalise, we had a psychological advantage in extra-time.

“I cannot say we are used to living this kind of life, but what happened tonight happened against Chelsea and also against Paris.

“If you have to say why, it is the history of this club that helps us to keep going when it seems that we are gone.

“I am happy to be in the final, in Paris against another great team. It will be a fantastic game for football.”

Analysis: How do Man City recover from this?

Sky Sports’ Adam Bate

The margins were fine, desperately fine. Jack Grealish had two chances. He did well for both. If the ball had ricocheted back off Phil Foden at a slightly different angle for the first chance. If Thibaut Courtois had been wearing smaller studs for the second. If…

Image:
Jack Grealish missed two chances to wrap up the victory for City before Real's comeback

What followed was impossible to explain, a freak occurrence but for the fact that Real Madrid keep doing it. This was their night but what is left of Manchester City’s season? That is a thought that will be far away in the Spanish capital but will need to return quickly.

Pep Guardiola will be bereft. Another chance missed when he appeared to have a team capable of winning this Champions League, ending his own 11-year wait for the biggest prize in European club football. Unlike some of the previous near misses, he played it straight.

There were no shock omissions, his set up neither too aggressive as in 2018 nor too cautious as in 2019. He had tweaked the system and been eliminated by Lyon in 2020. He had surprised some by asking Ilkay Gundogan to do Rodri’s job in the following year’s final.

Image:
Phil Foden looks dejected after Manchester City's dramatic defeat to Real Madrid

Here, his substitutions, not Carlo Ancelotti’s, almost made the difference. Grealish was oh so close to being the hero off the bench. If that had happened, City might have been narrow favourites to beat Liverpool in Paris, just as they are to win the Premier League. If…

Instead, Guardiola must lift his players, refocus them in the knowledge that the trophy that has again eluded them – the one they craved – is gone for another year. All they can do now is maintain their standards, hoping a domestic title will sate them. Easier said than done.

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