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Late Joselu double sends Real Madrid into Champions League final

Real Madrid substitute Joselu celebrates his late winner against Bayern Munich at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday morning.

Real Madrid substitute Joselu celebrates his late winner against Bayern Munich at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday morning. Photo: Getty

After yet another magical night at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Real Madrid is back in the Champions League final.

The record 14-time European champions pulled off another thrilling comeback on Wednesday (Thursday AEST), rallying to defeat Bayern Munich 2-1 and reach the final for the second time in three seasons.

Like it happened so many times in 2022, Madrid needed some late drama to advance.

Joselu scored in the 88th minute and then in stoppage time for Madrid, which advanced 4-3 on aggregate to set up a final against Borussia Dortmund on June 1 in London.

“Well, it has happened again what has happened so many times before,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said.

“It’s inexplicable. Fans who push us on, a fantastic stadium, players who never stop believing – it’s simply something magical.”

Bayern had taken the lead on an Alphonso Davies goal in the 68th minute.

Deep in stoppage time the German side thought it had equalised but hadn’t because of an offside call that Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel described as “disastrous” and “against the rules”.

Joselu’s first goal was a tap-in after Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer spilled an easy save.

His second goal was initially called off for offside but was eventually allowed after video review.

“You always dream of being part of moments like this,” the 34-year-old Joselu said.

“Not even my best dreams were as good as this.”

It will be Madrid’s record-extending 18th European Cup final, and ninth in the Champions League era, also a record.

Madrid beat Liverpool when it last made it to the final in 2022, a season marked by several late comebacks.

Madrid at the time pulled off thrilling comebacks at the Bernabeu against Manchester City in the semi-finals, Chelsea in the quarter-finals and Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16.

Six-time European champions Bayern was looking to return to the final for the first time since winning the competition in 2019-20.

The loss meant there will be no rematch of the all-German final in 2013, when Bayern beat Dortmund to win its fifth European title.

“It hurts. It’ll take a while to recover, but on the one hand it’s a loss where we left it all out on the pitch,” Bayern coach Tuchel said.

“Of course, it’s tough to accept. It’s part of reality. No regrets.”

-AP

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