Last gasp double sends Real Madrid into UCL final as Bayern’s unlucky 13th minute added time goal chalked off

May 9 – The prospect of an all-German Champions League final was dashed by Real Madrid and a considerable slice of good fortune as the Spaniards came from behind with two last-gasp goals to beat Bayern Munich 2-1 on Wednesday and advance 4-3 on aggregate to reach their sixth final in 10 years.

Real will bid for a record-extending 15th title against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley on June 1 but it could have been a very different story.

Bayern’s outgoing manager Thomas Tuchel said the decision from officials to halt play before his side appeared to score a stoppage-time equaliser felt “like a betrayal”.

Bayern had led 1-0 in the semi-final second leg through Alphonso Davies’ superb strike until an uncharacteristic calamitous fumble from keeper Manuel Neuer allowed substitute Joselu to equalise with 88 minutes on the clock. Then, before Bayern could catch their breath, Joselu scored again, his effort at first ruled out for offside, only to be awarded following a VAR check.

But in the 13th minute of stoppage time, there was no VAR to rescue the visitors when Matthijs de Ligt thought he had equalised, only for the assistant referee’s flag to have already been raised for offside – in error.

Television replays showed the original decision may not have been offside and would have needed to be checked. But because play had been stopped, VAR was unable to intervene.

Tuchel bemoaned what he described as “a very, very bad decision” and “against the rules”.

“There was a disastrous decision from the linesman and the referee. It feels like a betrayal in the end. The linesman said sorry but that does not help. To raise the flag in a moment like this. It’s hard to swallow.”

Tuchel later confirmed referee Szymon Marciniak, who took charge of the 2022 World Cup final, had also apologised but that was scant consolation for Bayern’s crestfallen players, not least England captain Harry Kane who left Tottenham to win silverware but found Bayern trophy-less for the first time in 12 years despite his 44 goals.

Neuer’s mistake that led to Real’s equaliser on the night only added to Bayern’s woes.  “No-one will point a finger at him because 99 times out of 100 times he makes it. It is just very, very bitter,” said Tuchel

Once again, Real found a way to win as they have done so many times both this season and in the past – the mark of true champions. To be fair, they dominated much of the game but it was just the manner of their victory that left a sour taste.

“Well, it has happened again what has happened so many times before,” said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti. “It’s inexplicable. Fans who push us on, a fantastic stadium, players who never stop believing – it’s simply something magical.”

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