Real Madrid put up a brave fight on Tuesday afternoon against Borussia Dortmund.
Los Merengues almost produced the most dramatic of comebacks in the UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg against Borussia, but they fell just short after winning 2-0 on the night, losing 4-3 on aggregate.
Despite an intense start in which the home side threw plenty at the Germans, Real were unable to get the early goal they craved. This would have set the rest of the game up beautifully, piled the pressure on Borussia Dortmund and got the home support right behind the team.
Mesut Ozil missed a great chance when he screwed a shot wide of the near post. However, the best chance was missed by Cristiano Ronaldo in that opening period.
Running onto a lofted pass from deep, Ronaldo took the ball down with perfect control on his chest inside the penalty area and spun to fire a first-time volley at goal. Then Roman Weidenfeller produced an instinctive save from close range.
Dortmund themselves had plenty of chances to finish off the tie, most notably when Robert Lewandowksi—four goal hero of the first leg—smacked a shot against the crossbar. This was before Ilkay Gundogan contrived to hit a shot straight at the despairing dive of Diego Lopez with the goal at his mercy.
Such profligacy ensured that Real Madrid retained some vestige of hope. And when Ozil's low cross from the right was hit high and hard into the back of the net by substitute Karim Benzema, the stadium erupted with anticipation and emotion.
The momentum was completely in Real Madrid's favour and it took them just a few minutes to double their tally. Benzema pulled the ball back for Sergio Ramos to control and smash into the roof of the net for 2-0.
At that point it seemed as though the impossible might suddenly happen. But despite a late effort from Ramos and the goalkeeper Lopez coming up for a corner, Real were kept at bay for the final minutes of the game.
So close in the end for Real, but ultimately they were beaten by a superior performance in the first leg from Borussia Dortmund.
Borussia will now go on to the Champions League final to play against Bayern Munich—barring an even more unlikely comeback from Barcelona.