Ronaldo Matches Messi’s Penalty Miss as Bayern Reaches Final
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who amassed a combined 112 goals this season, messed up just when the pressure was on in their Champions League semifinals.
Ronaldo had his penalty shootout kick saved as Real Madrid was eliminated by Bayern Munich, a day after Messi fired a spot kick against the crossbar in Barcelona’s ousting by Chelsea.
Bayern won the penalty shootout 3-1 to advance to the May 19 final at its own Allianz Arena against Chelsea. Ronaldo scored twice in the first 14 minutes before Arjen Robben got a goal to make it 3-3 over the two-game semifinal. Madrid’s players lacked energy after that, coach Jose Mourinho told reporters. Real’s Kaka and Sergio Ramos also didn’t score with their shootout kicks.
“The best tennis players in the world make a mistake on match ball and in Formula One the drivers make errors when there are just a couple of laps to go,” Mourinho said. “These players have been running like animals for two hours.”
Madrid paid 80 million pounds ($129 million) for Ronaldo in 2009, making him the most expensive player in the world, while Messi is the record-tying three-time World Player of the Year. He hit a penalty kick against the crossbar for Barcelona two nights ago.
Bayern, a four-time European champion, will become the first team to play a final at its home stadium since the tournament changed to the Champions League format in 1992.
“This is something to go absolutely crazy about,” Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, dressed in a suit and tie, told reporters at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid.
Heynckes said his only regret was that three of his players will be suspended after getting yellow cards last night: David Alaba, Holger Badstuber and Luiz Gustavo. Chelsea will be without John Terry, who was red-carded against Barcelona, as well as Ramires, Raul Meireles and Branislav Ivanovic.
“It’s a shame the best players won’t be playing the final -- for Bayern Munich and Chelsea,” Heynckes said. “The rules should be changed.”
Ronaldo did score with his first penalty kick. With Real Madrid trailing 2-1 from last week’s first game in Munich, he converted his spot kick in the sixth minute after a handball against Alaba. The Portuguese added his second goal eight minutes later to give Real the lead in the series.
Robben then scored with a penalty kick in the 27th minute, after Gomez was taken down by Pepe, to leave the teams tied 3-3 on aggregate.
Madrid created fewer chances as the game progressed. The team had faced off against Barcelona in the Spanish league’s El Clasico on April 21, which proved a disadvantage against a more energized Bayern team, Mourinho said.
La Liga Lead
Real won 2-1 at Barcelona to take a seven-point lead in the domestic league with four games left.
“If we hadn’t been going for the championship we would have rested players,” Mourinho said, adding his players lacked “physical freshness.”
After both teams failed to score during extra time, Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer dived to his right to block penalty kicks by Ronaldo and Kaka. Sergio Ramos blasted his kick over the crossbar.
After Alaba and Mario Gomez scored for Bayern, Bastian Schweinsteiger smashed in his kick to clinch victory before removing his jersey and sprinting to the corner of the field near where Bayern’s fans were celebrating.
As Spaniards digest a second La Liga team losing in the semifinals, the focus shouldn’t be on Ronaldo or Messi missing penalty kicks, Mourinho said.
“It saddens me that you won’t forget Messi missed a penalty,” Mourinho told reporters. “The people who speak about that live on the second floor and are exhausted when they get there -- or take the lift.”
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