Barcelona hold off Bayern to reach Champions League final

FC Barcelona will play in the European Cup final for the eighth time after some devastating attacking interplay in the first half at FC Bayern München proved crucial, according to UEFA’s official website.

With just a 4.8% chance of turning round a 3-0 first-leg deficit, Bayern made the perfect start as Medhi Benatia headed them in front in the seventh minute. With home anticipation rising, however, Neymar rounded off a clinical Barcelona attack to level and his second of the night in the 29th minute effectively ended the contest. Robert Lewandowski equalised on the night and Thomas Müller’s 74th-minute strike halted Barça’s 18-game unbeaten streak in all competitions – but the Blaugrana will be in Berlin on 6 June seeking their fifth European title and fourth in nine years.

Having conceded three times in the closing 14 minutes of last week’s semi-final opener, Bayern had it all to do and their task nearly became insurmountable within five minutes as Daniel Alves’s lofted pass set Ivan Rakitić free. Manuel Neuer was down to his right to push the attempt away.

Bayern, though, were quick to threaten themselves, breaking at pace following a visiting corner. Müller’s cross picked out Thiago Alcántara for a shot that Gerard Piqué blocked, yet the home side soon had the early goal they craved. Xabi Alonso’s deep corner found Benatia in space near the penalty spot and Marc-André ter Stegen could not keep the header out.