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collapse Pep Guardiola finds it hard to explain how Man City threw away Champions League dream

Real Madrid produced an astonishing late fightback to snatch a place in the Champions League final at the expense of Manchester City on Wednesday.

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Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring Real Madrid's winning goal. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring Real Madrid's winning goal. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring Real Madrid's winning goal. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola struggled to find the words to explain how his side threw away their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid on a night of high drama at the Bernabeu.

Real Madrid produced an astonishing late fightback to snatch a place in the Champions League final at the expense of Manchester City on Wednesday.

Substitute Rodrygo scored twice in the closing minutes of a tense semi-final second leg at the Bernabeu Stadium before Karim Benzema settled a tie that will live long in the memory with an extra-time penalty to make it 6-5 on aggregate.

Riyad Mahrez had put City on course for a final date with rivals Liverpool in Paris later this month when he broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute, putting the English side 5-3 ahead on aggregate.

Yet, just as they had failed to press home their advantage in last week’s classic first encounter at the Etihad Stadium, Pep Guardiola’s side again failed to keep tight at the back, losing 3-1 on the night.

"We were close. We were close. But in the end we could not reach it," said Guardiola.

"It is simple. In the first-half we did not have game, we were not good enough. But we did not suffer much. After we scored the goal we were better.

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Pep Guardiola reacts during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola reacts during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola reacts during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

"We found out tempo and our game and the players were comfortable. It is not like in the last 10 minutes they attack and attack and you suffer. It didn't happen. They put a lot of players in the box, with Militao, Rodrygo, Vinicius, Benzema and they put in crosses and scored two goals.

"We didn't play our best, but it is normal, a semi-final, the players feel the pressure and wanting to do it. Football is unpredictable, it is a game like this. We have to accept it.

"Now we need to process that and come back, with our people at home and the last four games we have."

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti struggled to explain how his side had come back from the dead for a third round in succession, after their remarkable wins against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea.

"I cannot say we are used to living this kind if life, but what happened tonight it happened against Chelsea and also against PSG. If you have to say why, it is the history of this club that helps us to keep going when it seems that we are gone," said Ancelotti.

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"The game was close to finished and we managed to find the last energy we had. We played a good game against a strong rival. When we are able to equalise we had a psychological advantage in extra-time. I have no time to think about this [losing the game]. It was difficult as City had control of the game but the last opportunity we were able to go to extra-time.

"I am happy to be there in the final, in Paris against another great rival. We are used to it. It will be a fantastic game for football."

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