Javier Hernandez’s late strike against 10-man Atletico Madrid secured a 1-0 win and a Uefa Champions League semi-final place on Wednesday night for Real Madrid. After last week’s quarter-final first leg at the Vicente Calderon ended 0-0, a tense return at the Bernabeu appeared to be heading for extra time until James Rodriguez slipped a pass through to Cristiano Ronaldo in the 88th minute. Ronaldo’s quality played in Chicharito, who stroked the ball past Jan Oblak to secure a 1-0 aggregate victory.
Real coach Carlo Ancelotti, missing injured regulars Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric and so started with Hernandez up front with Ronaldo and centre back Sergio Ramos pushed forward into a defensive midfield role. Seeking to become the first team to retain the trophy in the Champions League era, Los Blancos had the upper hand in terms of chances in the first half. Portugal striker, Ronaldo forced a good save from Oblak with a 32nd minute free kick before racing through with a clear site of goal a minute before half-time.
Real attacked immediately after the start of the second half when Isco threaded a pass through for Hernandez but he scuffed his shot wide of the far post. Atletico’s hopes ended when Arda Turan picked up a second yellow for a foot-up challenge on Ramos and he was distraught as he trudged off to a cacophony of whistles. The draw for the semi-finals is on Friday, with Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Juventus joining Ancelotti’s lot in the pot.