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Late goal sinks Real

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

MUNICH - Bayern Munich's dream of a home Champions League final was kept alive with a late Mario Gomez goal that gave them a 2-1 semi-final victory in Germany against Real Madrid.

Gomez scored from a Philipp Lahm cross with a minute to go after Germany international Mesut Oezil equalised for Real Madrid eight minutes after the break.

Franck Ribery had given Bayern the lead in the 17th minute. Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was called on to make a great save as early as the seventh minute after Oezil had set up Karim Benzema and the French international unleashed a powerful shot from 10 metres.

Real dominated the opening spell, but it was the home side that took the lead early after a corner from Toni Kroos that Sergio Ramos inadvertently chested to Ribery.

Real goalkeeper Iker Cassilas, who was unsighted by Bayern midfielder Luiz Gustavo, had no chance against Ribery's close-range effort. Bayern came close to scoring a second shortly before the break as Kroos fed Gomez, but Cassilas did well to deny the Germany striker.

Real drew level eight minutes after the restart when Cristiano Ronaldo found himself one-on-one with Neuer. The goalkeeper managed to block the shot, but it bounced to Oezil, who pushed it across to Benzema.

Benzema crossed back across the goalmouth, where Neuer failed to intercept. Instead Ronaldo pulled the ball back from an acute angle to the feet of Oezil, who had a simple tap-in for the equaliser.

Bayern pushed forward in the closing stages of the game, but were stopped by many niggly fouls, that saw five Real players being booked.

In total, referee Howard Webb showed eight yellow cards.

Gomez had a strong penalty appeal turned down with five minutes to go. He then turned match-winner in the 89th minute as captain Lahm crossed into the area and the striker pushed the ball across the line.

It was his 12th goal in this season's Champions League.

The result leaves Munich with a good chance to become the first team to play a Champions League final at home.

Only three teams managed that previously in the European Champions' Cup.

The other semi-final sees the defending champions Barcelona travel to Chelsea this morning (6.30am, Fiji time).


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