CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMI-FINAL 2ND LEG: Barcelona ease into Champions League final

Barcelona will contest the Champions League final at Wembley after a 1-1 result on the night and 3-1 on aggregate over bitter rivals Real Madrid at the Nou Camp.

Perhaps familiarity finally bred contempt between these two rivals as they met for the 5th time in 18 days and compared to the spiteful encounter of a week ago the game was relatively low key with Madrid finally ending the game with eleven men after recent meetings.

There were six bookings however, five of those to Madrid.

Barcelona deservedly take their place in the final for despite the scoreline the Catalans were always in control even if Madrid’s strike to level matters was a cause for momentary concern.

Until the half-hour the game had been open but with few chances to either side. Then we had a flurry of attempts on goal from Barca.

In the space of four minutes Lionel Messi three times and David Villa all brought out fine saves from Iker Casillas. In reply a Cristiano Ronaldo cross just failed to find Angel di Maria.

But the home side’s dominance in pouring rain was rewarded just after the break. A sweeping move ended with Pedro Rodriguez making it 1-0 on the night and 3-0 on aggregate.

Yet Madrid had the ball in the net moments earlier through Gonzalo Higuain but was ruled out for a dubious foul on Javier Mascherano. What will the conspiracy theorists at the Bernabeu make of that?

Madrid did find the back of the net on 64 minutes when Di Maria’s initial effort hit the post but rebounded to the Argentinean who set up Marcelo to restore parity.

The visitor’s failed to capitalise on this strike and whilst they tried to take the game to Barca the host’s simply played their containing game, depriving Madrid of any meaningful possession.

The game also marked a club record for Barcelona of 10 successive home wins in European competition and a deserved place in the final against either Manchester United or Schalke.

Referee: Frank De Bleeckere (BEL)

Venue: Nou Camp
Attendance: 90,000

Barcelona scorers: Pedrito 54
Real Madrid scorers: Marcelo 64

01 Valdes
02 Daniel
03 Pique
05 Puyol (Abidal 90)
06 Xavi
08 Iniesta
14 Mascherano
16 Busquets
07 Villa (Keita 74)
10 Messi
17 Pedrito (yellow card) (Afellay 90+3)

38 Olazabal,
22 Abidal,
15 Keita,
20 Afellay,
26 Fontas,
30 Thiago,
11 Jeffren

01 Casillas
02 Carvalho (yellow card)
12 Marcelo (yellow card)
17 Arbeloa
18 Albiol
07 Ronaldo
08 Kaka (Ozil 60)
10 Diarra (yellow card)
14 Alonso (yellow card)
22 Di Maria
20 Higuain (Adebayor 55 (yellow card)

25 Dudek,
19 Garay,
35 Nacho,
11 Granero,
23 Ozil,
09 Benzema,
28 Adebayor

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