Real Madrid have reached a third Champions League final in four years despite losing 2-1 to Atletico Madrid in their Champions League second-leg semifinal.
The result sees Zinedine Zidane’s team advance 4-2 on aggregate to play in a June 3 final in Cardiff, Wales against Juventus.
The hosts got the opener they needed, with Saul heading home past Keylor Navas following a corner to give Atleti an early 1-0 lead.
The dream start for Diego Simeone’s team continued as they doubled their advantage from the penalty spot minutes later through Antoine Griezmann after Real’s Raphael Varane clumsily tripped Fernando Torres in the box.
Diego Godin saw yellow in the 34th minute after knocking Cristiano Ronaldo to the deck as the two went for a Sergio Ramos clearance. The Real captain was also booked for dissent following the foul as he argued with the official for a red card for Godin.
Real clamored for an away goal as the match neared half-time. Isco did well to get free in the Atleti area, but he scuffed his right-footed shot right to Jan Oblak.
And the crucial goal came right before the break as Karim Benzema tiptoed past the Atleti defence on the endline and set up Toni Kroos. The German international’s first-time shot was saved by Oblak, but Isco was waiting and pounced on the rebound to cut the hosts’ lead to 2-1.
Needing three unanswered goals to overturn their 4-2 aggregate deficit, Atleti came out firing and pushed numbers forward.
That approach left space in the back and Marcelo found room in the 56th minute, cutting a pass back from the endline to Ronaldo, whose shot from eight yards went wide of Oblak’s goal.
Navas was called into action in the 66th minute after Yannick Carrasco was first to a long ball over the Real defence. The Belgium international cut back to his right foot, but Navas parried his shot away and then dealt admirably with Kevin Gameiro’s close-range headed effort from the rebound.
Gameiro was on the doorstep with 10 minutes to play, but Ramos got a toe to Griezmann’s cross before the France international could slot home from very close range.
A composed Real Madrid saw out the result and will face Juventus in the Champions League final, with Zidane’s team seeking a 12th European trophy and Juventus looking to win their first since 1996.