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Barcelona Ousts Real Madrid To Enter UEFA Champions League Final

Camp Nou, May 4: Barcelona is back in soccer's Champions League final after ousting its biggest rival. Barcelona tied Real Madrid 1-1 at home last night after winning the opening game of the semifinal 2-0.
barcelona ousts real madrid to enter uefa...
PTI 04 May 2011, 01:08 PM IST

Camp Nou, May 4: Barcelona is back in soccer's Champions League final after ousting its biggest rival.

Barcelona tied Real Madrid 1-1 at home last night after winning the opening game of the semifinal 2-0. The 3-1 total over the series sent Barcelona to the title game in Europe's elite club competition for the third time in six seasons.

Barcelona will play Manchester United or Schalke at Wembley Stadium in London on May 28. The Spanish club won the Champions League in 2006 and two years ago after first becoming European champion at Wembley in 1992.

United, which takes a 2-0 lead into tonight's game at Old Trafford, lost the 2009 final to Barcelona and is trying to reach the title game for a third time in four seasons.

“I'm not sure who we will face but I imagine it will be Manchester United,” Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola told reporters. “It's a real feat getting to the final after such a hard season, and on top of that to eliminate a great team like Madrid.”

Pedro Rodriguez scored for Barcelona on a rainy night at the Nou Camp stadium and Marcelo had the goal for record nine- time champion Real, which was playing without suspended defenders Pepe and Sergio Ramos.

Madrid manager  Jose Mourinho was also banned after being sent to the stands in the opener, with assistant Aitor Karanka taking over.

“The team showed what it's made of,” Karanka told reporters. “Even in adverse conditions we showed our face.”

Barcelona was kept off the scoreboard by Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas after dominating play in the first half.

Andres Iniesta shot wide in the seventh minute and Sergio Busquets headed a corner kick straight to Casillas.

Lionel Messi then forced Casillas into a diving save and sent another shot wide. Casillas also stopped shots from David Villa and Pedro.

Real's Cristiano Ronaldo broke down the right flank in the 40th minute, only to have his cross for Angel Di Maria grabbed by goalkeeper Victor Valdes. It was the best chance of the half for Real, which had no attempts on goal.

Real's Gonzalo Higuain put the ball in the net in the opening minute of the second half, although the score was disallowed because of Ronaldo's foul on  Jvier Mascherano  in the build-up.
 
Barcelona took the lead when Iniesta split the defense with a pass for Pedro, who took one touch into the area before firing a shot into the corner. Real tied the game 10 minutes later as Di Maria hit the post and centered the rebound for Marcelo to score past Valdes.

“We're left with the memory of the first leg at home,” Casillas said on UEFA's website. “Had we managed a 0-0 there it would have been enough to get us through.”

In the final minute, Barcelona defender  Eric Abidal made his first appearance since undergoing surgery in March to remove a tumor in his liver and was greeted by a huge ovation from the crowd.

Four games in 18 days between the teams produced one win apiece and two draws. It was the first time Real didn't have a player sent off in five meetings with Barcelona this season.

 
   
 

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