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To Wembley in style

sports Updated: May 05, 2011 02:07 IST
Highlight Story

Barcelona reached the Champions League final for the second time in three years when a 1-1 draw at home to Real Madrid in their semi-final second leg sent the 2009 winners through 3-1 on aggregate.

Barca led through Pedro's 54th minute strike at a rain-lashed Camp Nou before Marcelo equalised 10 minutes later but Real's challenge petered out.

The visitors spent long periods chasing the ball as the Barca players sent it fizzing across the slick surface and they would have been out of sight by halftime if not for a brilliant series of saves from Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

The Spanish World Cup-winner was finally beaten when Pedro raced on to Andres Iniesta's through ball and slotted into the corner. Real fullback Marcelo then followed up after Angel Di Maria struck the post but there was no way back for the nine-times winners.

While there was no repeat of the ugly scenes that marred last week's ill-tempered first leg, referee Frank De Bleeckere brandished six yellow cards - five to Real players - in another tetchy contest.

A massive thunderstorm had broken over the stadium a couple of hours before kickoff.

The adverse weather conditions did nothing to dampen the spirits of the Barca faithful, who were in fine voice at the packed, nearly 100,000-capacity arena.

Real coach Jose Mourinho, a former Barca assistant who knocked the Catalan club out at the same stage last season with Inter Milan, was absent from the bench after being sent to the stands in the first leg.

His assistant, Aitor Karanka, and the Real players appeared powerless in the face of the relentless Barca possession as the La Liga leaders gained a measure of revenge for last month's defeat to Real in the King's Cup final.

"We have to lift our heads up and be proud," Real captain Casillas said in an interview with Spanish television as the Barca players celebrated wildly on the pitch.

"Anything we say now could be used against us," he added, referring to the bad blood that boiled up between the two teams in recent weeks when they met four times in 18 days in three competitions.

English Premier League club Manchester United will defend a 2-0 lead over Schalke 04 when they host the Bundesliga side in the other semifinal.

The final is at London's Wembley stadium on May 28 where Barca won their first European title in 1992.