Benzema's great escape puts Madrid in Champions League final

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos will not give Juventus star Gonzalo Higuain "peanuts" in the Champions League final as he prepares to reunite with his former team-mate.

Los Blancos, who entered the Wednesday encounter with a 3-nil first leg victory, conceded an early goal at the Vicente Calderon when Saul Niguez thumped in a header after just 12 minutes.

Griezmann forced a fine save out of Navas while the brilliant Benzema saw a diving header flash inches wide as the rain poured down and Real played out the final quarter of an hour to ease to the aggregate win.

"We knew we were going to suffer, above all in the first 20 or 25 minutes", Zidane said.

However, even when the bricks and mortar are in place, replacing the emotional tide with which the Calderon has carried Atletico to 18 wins in 22 Champions League games over the past four years is a different challenge.

"My best memory of the Champions League is the semi-final against Chelsea in 2009", he said.

"It was a Champions League semi-final against a great opponent and they made things hard for us in their stadium, but our team demonstrated why we have been competing the way we have for so many years".

"I'm happy to reach two consecutive finals". "Tomorrow we have to reflect on how huge an achievement this is after spending 11 years without playing the final". We need a little bit of patience with the managers, we need to keep all of our better players.

The Atletico crowd stayed on to cheer their team long after the final whistle, while the players returned from the changing rooms several minutes after the game to greet the fans. "It's always hard because they have great players, not just [Francesco] Totti who I hope to be healthy so I'm near him".

"We were talking after the game and I asked Karim how he got out of there", Zidane said with a smile.

"This is not our ceiling, we are in one of the great moments of our history", he added. It was always going to be hard, we knew that in advance. Griezmann, who had missed a penalty kick in last year's final against Madrid, slipped slightly just as he was taking the shot, and goalkeeper Keylor Navas got his hand to the ball but was not able to fully deflect it.

  • Julie Sanders