Real Madrid reached the semi-final of the Champions League last night but not without coming close to throwing it all away.
Holding a 3-0 lead from the first leg against Borussia Dortmund, all they had to do was avoid a disaster to qualify. But they chose to do it the hard way, putting in a shocking first half display full of errors.
Angel di Maria missed a penalty in the 16th minute, and errors from Pepe and Asier Illarramendi allowed Marcus Reus to score twice in the first half. Los Blancos improved marginally in the second period and weathered the storm to end the two-legged affair as 3-2 victors overall.
Today’s papers are fairly muted about the achievement of reaching a fourth consecutive semi-final, focusing instead on the disappointing performance.
Marca and AS have plenty of quotes from various players after the match in which the general messages was one of relief and time to switch back on for the challenges ahead. Iker Casillas described the result as a “shock to the system”, while Luke Modric admitted the players always say they need to learn but never do. Manager Carlo Ancelotti admitted his side played with too much fear, particularly in the first half.
Sticking with the Champions League theme, the papers also cover Chelsea’s win over PSG, which raises the prospect of a reunion with Jose Mourinho. Speaking after his side’s win, the man who failed to land the Decima for Los Blancos, said if the clubs were drawn together, it would be an enjoyable experience.