Sport

Bayern to meet Chelsea in CL Final

Toni Kroos (left), Manuel Neuer and Franck Ribery of Bayern celebrate after the UEFA Champions League semi final second leg match between Real Madrid and Bayern Muenchen at Bernabeu Stadium on April 25, 2012 in Madrid, Spain.
Toni Kroos (left), Manuel Neuer and Franck Ribery of Bayern celebrate after the UEFA Champions League semi final second leg match between Real Madrid and Bayern Muenchen at Bernabeu Stadium on April 25, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. Christof Koepsel - Getty Images

JOSE Mourinho disappeared down the tunnel as Bastian Schweinsteiger was mobbed by his celebrating team-mates - Bayern Munich had beaten his side on penalties in their own backyard; now Chelsea must beat the Germans in theirs to win the Champions League.

Committing himself to Real Madrid into next season, Mourinho also praised Chelsea's heroic performance on Tuesday after the game, and said those who criticised their ultra-defensive performance "knew nothing" about football.

For a while it looked as if we were heading for a "made in Mourinho" final with his former players facing his current club but the fatigue of their titanic domestic battle with Barcelona took its toll and as happened to him in 2007 while Chelsea manager, he was a semi-final loser on penalties.

Mourinho embraced his players before their spot-kicks and watched the shoot-out on his knees. Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka both had their efforts saved by Manuel Neuer and although Toni Kroos and Philipp Lahm both failed to score, Sergio Ramos skied his kick and Schweinsteiger sent Bayern through.

Asked if he had the desire to go again with the same group of players he said: "Without doubt. If I had one thing in my head when I came here it was to win with these players. We won the cup and now, if we finish the job, we will win the league. To reach two semi-finals is also fantastic and there is still room for these players to grow. If I see that they have the desire then I will stay."

Mourinho blamed their energy-sapping duel with Barcelona but also hit out at those who had belittled Chelsea's achievement 24 hours earlier. "Chelsea were heroes," he said.

"Some people think they are the masters of the game but they know nothing about effort and spirit. They know nothing about playing for so long with 10 men. I am thinking about the heroes of Inter and of Chelsea."

Asked about Chelsea's date with Bayern he said: "No-one knows what is going to happen. I hope it is a good final. I respect Bayern because they lost with a lot of fair play two years ago and I have a lot of affection for Chelsea because the club has touched my life.

"Chelsea deserved it and so do Bayern but we deserved it too. To reach two semi-finals in two years is fantastic and I have reached six in eight years now. We deserved to win because the games were very even but it was a team who have been playing to win their league against a side who were out of their title race.

"It was like the semi-final against Liverpool [in 2007]. It is our own fault for being in such a tough title race." On Ronaldo's missed spot-kick - his first since 2009 he added: "The best tennis players in the world can make a mistake on a match point and in this game a top player can miss a penalty."

While Bayern reaching the final means Chelsea will effectively be the away team without the benefit of a neutral venue, they will by buoyed by avoiding Real and in the knowledge that Bayern will be without the suspended David Alaba, Holger Badstuber and Luiz Gustavo.

Both teams started the game as if it was golden goal and not an evenly balanced second leg. Real Madrid scored after six minutes when Alaba blocked Angel Di Maria's cross with his arm and Ronaldo stepped up to score the penalty.

Alaba immediately looked to make amends crossing for Arjen Robben who with the goal at his mercy blazed over. Iker Casillas then saved from Mario Gomez but Real broke away to double their lead.

With 14 minutes on the clock the German heart of their midfield created the opening and Ronaldo scored. Sami Khedira fed Mesut Ozil; he played the ball through to the unmarked Portuguese who finished past Neuer.

Bayern were back in the game when Gomez went down under pressure from Pepe as he chased a Toni Kroos cross. Robben's penalty found the corner of Casillas' net to bring Bayern back level on aggregate.

The pace slowed as both teams realised they were not just a goal away from going through but also a mistake away from going out. So came the shoot-out and with it Neuer's saves, Ronaldo's first missed penalty in 26 and an unforgiving Schweinsteiger with the final word.

Topics:  bayern munich, chelsea fc, european champions league, real madrid


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