Hernandez Scores As Real Knock Out Atletico
…Holders Real win without Bale and Modric
…Real beat rivals for first time in eight meetings
…Hernandez on loan from Man Utd
…No side has retained Champions League
Real Madrid’s Javier Hernandez scored an 88th-minute winner to settle a tense Champions League quarter-final against neighbours Atletico in the Bernabeu.
The visitors frustrated Real for the majority of the match, but the game opened up when Atletico’s Arda Turan was sent off in the 75th minute.
With the game heading for extra-time after the first leg ended 0-0, Cristiano Ronaldo drove forward and squared for Hernandez to slot home.
The semi-final draw is on Friday.
Real will join fellow La Liga heavyweights Barcelona, plus Germany’s Bayern Munich and Serie A side Juventus, in the final four yet none are likely to provide a sterner test of their attacking mettle than their cross-city rivals.
Atletico were well-drilled and extremely difficult to break down, but the tie turned in Real’s favour when Turan was sent off for a second bookable offence – the Turkish midfielder fouling Sergio Ramos.
Turan had been assigned to man-mark Ronaldo and he did the job to perfection during the time he was on the pitch.
With Real shorn of two of their attacking stars – Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema – through injury, they often looked short on ideas up front with Ronaldo struggling to escape Turan’s attentions.
As in the first leg, Atletico keeper Jan Oblak made a number of fine saves – none better than when he denied Hernandez from inside the area – and it was becoming a frustrating night for both Real and their Mexican striker, on loan from Manchester United.
However, Turan’s red card energised the Bernabeu and the tie was finally settled by the brilliance of Ronaldo, who now has 50 goals and 19 assists to his name this season.
The Portuguese cut inside and unselfishly picked out Hernandez, 26, to tap home his sixth goal of the season.
Defeat felt harsh on Atletico, and in particular their well-drilled defence which was again well-marshalled by Diego Godin, but 10-time winners Real had the edge – just like they did in the final against the same opponents last season.
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Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti:
“Hernandez played very well, with a lot of desire. I think he has suffered a lot this season as he has hardly played.
“He never threw in the towel even in difficult moments and worked hard in training and it paid off for him.”
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone:
“I leave feeling proud of my team. Again we competed superbly in a competition as tough as the Champions League and to be among the eight best teams in Europe is not easy.
“I was always taught that in the game you have to compete and if you give your all you will go home feeling content.
“I don’t have any negative feelings. There are coaches who would be envious to have these players.”