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Javier Hernandez scored a late winner to lớn send Real Madrid into the UEFA Champions League semi-finals with a hard-fought, 1-0 victory at trang chủ to rivals Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

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Handed a place in the starting XI because of an injury lớn Karim Benzema, Hernandez swept the ball into the back of the net in the 88th minute following good work from Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez, sending the home supporters into ecstasy và giving his side its first victory over Atletico this season in eight tries.

The first leg had finished scoreless at Atletico"s Estadio Vicente Calderon, meaning the opening goal of Wednesday"s second leg was always going lớn prove valuable. Once Chicharito netted with just two minutes left in regular time, there was only going lớn be one winner.


Real will join Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus in a semi-final draw filled with some of European football"s most famous clubs. Having won the title last season—beating Atletico in the final—Real will fancy their chances of retaining the trophy after seeing off their rivals" spirited challenge.



Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

Atletico finished the match with 10 men after Arda Turan drew his second yellow card in the 76th minute. Diego Simeone"s side will now turn their attention back lớn La Liga và their quest to lớn finish in the đứng đầu four to lớn qualify for the Champions League again next season.



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Up next, Atletico host Elche on Saturday in the league. Real Madrid, who trail leaders Barcelona by just two points, play at Celta Vigo on Sunday.

The match started somewhat slowly, with Real holding a massive edge in possession but failing lớn trouble Atletico"s organised defence, which had to lớn make vì without the suspended Mario Suarez.



Paul White/Associated Press

In the 12th minute, Hernandez—making a rare start in place of Karim Benzema—rifled high into the side netting after combining well with Rodriguez down the right. One minute later, Ronaldo rolled a shot wide of the post from outside the box after Real pounced on a mistake in Atleti"s half.

At the other end, Koke volleyed over the bar in the 15th minute as Atletico forayed into the attacking third. Jesus Gamez then forced Iker Casillas into a save with a powerful, angled drive in the 29th minute.

Ronaldo tested Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak in the 32nd minute with a fierce free-kick from distance, but Oblak was equal khổng lồ Ronaldo"s low shot & saved to lớn his left.


Rodriguez set up Ronaldo for the best chance of the first half with a fine through ball in the 44th minute, but Oblak kick-saved Ronaldo"s shot from a tight angle on the right.

After the interval, Real came close again in the 49th minute as Isco picked out Hernandez with an incisive pass through Atletico"s defence. Hernandez beat Oblak with his scooped shot, but the ball went wide of the far post.



Paul White/Associated Press

Hernandez appealed for a penalty six minutes later following mid-air contract with Miranda in the box, but the referee waved play on.

The match took a dramatic turn in the 76th minute when Atletico went down lớn 10 men. Turan, who had already drawn a yellow card in the first half, clattered into Ramos with a late, studs-up challenge, và the referee brandished yellow for the second time. Following the subsequent red card, Atletico were forced to lớn play the final 14-plus minutes of regular time with a numerical disadvantage.

The sending off drew plenty of reaction from Twitter, with multiple onlookers questioning the decision.


Rik Sharma
riksharma_

Rare to see a yellow given for that type of foul, when the player already has a booking


Janusz Michallik
JanuszMichallik

Impossible that you sent a player off for that. No chance you show a second yellow.


Sid Lowe
sidlowe

That is exactly the kind of challenge that refs always give that way and, in my opinion, always give wrongly.


Real nearly made their superiority count in the 80th minute, when Hernandez outmuscled Diego Godin and ran on lớn a pass from Rodriguez on the right side of the box. But Oblak came off his line alertly and deflected the Mexican striker"s shot out for for a corner, which came khổng lồ nothing.

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Paul White/Associated Press

Extra time was beginning to lớn feel inevitable, but Real finally found the breakthrough in the 88th minute.

Ronaldo and Rodriguez carved out the chance with a give-and-go near the edge of the box before Ronaldo burst into the area and squared for Hernandez, who had held up his run lớn evade a pair of defenders. With his first touch, the Mexican swept into the net for the winning goal, which both Real"s players & the trang chủ fans celebrated wildly.


Selected Player Grades


Paul White/Associated Press

Javier Hernandez, Real Madrid: B+

His performance will be remembered for the winning goal, but until that point, Hernandez had been a bit wasteful in front of goal, albeit while battling gamely.

In the 12th minute, he shot high into the side netting. Early in the second half, he should have hit the target but instead scooped a shot off target. But good strikers put themselves in a position to score, regardless of how many chances they have missed on any one night, & doing so made Hernandez the match-winner.

Wednesday night was just Hernandez"s seventh start for Real since joining from Manchester United. Perhaps scoring the winning goal will boost his stock with Ancelotti.


Paul White/Associated Press

Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid: B+

With Real hit by injuries, the Spain international, a centre-back by trade, deputised in central midfield. Tasked with protecting the back four, Ramos performed admirably even though he was playing out of position.

Ramos showed good positioning throughout the match & was tidy in possession. As expected, his trò chơi included a hefty helping of steel, and he bombed forward dangerously on mix pieces.

His presence in the starting XI kept talented players like Asier Illarramendi và Sami Khedira on the bench, và his performance suggested it wasn"t quite the outrageous decision some might have thought.

Reaction

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, via Diario AS (h/t Football Espana):

I decided (to put Ramos in midfield) minutes after Luka Modric was injured. I have confidence in Sergio & he gives us a taller team. It guarantees we suffer less at set-pieces. It’s a decision for today only. He has sacrificed for the team & understood that it was important for us to lớn avoid problems at set-pieces.

It was a good trò chơi with a good strategy. I said we weren’t in a hurry to score. We had the ball và the team was well-connected. We have to lớn congratulate Chicharito because it has been a difficult year, not playing much, but he has always trained, worked và suffered and he deserves what has happened. I’ve not removed the thorn of the derby. We played against a defensively strong team, not giving any chances. I have a lot of respect for this opponent.

We have won và lost with them but they have always worked very well in defence. I’m happy no matter (the semi-final opponent). Four very strong teams have reached the semi-finals.

Real Madrid striker Javier Hernandez, via Diario AS (h/t Football Espana):

Yes, of course, it’s my most important goal, because the present is what’s important. I’ve scored important goals in my career but what counts is now. This gives me confidence. It was a great assist (by Cristiano Ronaldo). He played lớn win.

This is a derby match. (Past games against Atletico) didn’t bring good things after La Decima. This belongs lớn everyone. It belongs lớn all the people. I had to score but it’s for everyone. The people who trusted in me, my teammates and my family. The goal is for all of them.

The coach told me a few days ago I would play. I kept on doing what I was doing và I was prepared. I don’t know when it was decided (that Sergio Ramos would play in midfield). That stays in the locker room. If he wants to, the coach will say. 

Atletico are a worthy opponent. I thank God we were winners. Next? to win the Champions League you have khổng lồ beat everyone.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, via Diario AS (h/t Football Espana):

I’m proud of how my team competed. I have a team of men. I was taught that in a trò chơi you have lớn compete. If you give your life, you go trang chủ happy. There’s no negative feelings. There are coaches (who are) jealous of having these players.

There’s no point reviewing (Arda Turan’s red card) because it won’t change the outcome.

We lacked connections. We were unable lớn complete combinations và that was important for the work of our rival.