Barcelona progress to final at Real's expense

Written by: Pti
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Barcelona, May 4: Barcelona reached their second Champions League final in three years after a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid at the Nou Camp in their semi-final second leg clash here saw them progress 3-1 on aggregate.

Barcelona could now face Manchester United in a repeat of the 2009 final - which Barcelona won - as they hold a 2-0 lead over Schalke going into today''s second leg in Manchester.

Needing to overturn a 2-0 home defeat Real had to attack but they never managed a sustained threat on the Barca goal and fell behind to a Pedro strike in the 54th minute yesterday.

Marcelo replied 10 minutes later but it was only a consolation goal for Real.

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta, who set up Pedro''s goal, was ecstatic.

"It is a unique feeling, to once again be in the final," said Iniesta, who missed the first leg through injury.

"Winning a confrontation like this one deserves to be feted."

Real found it hard to be gracious in defeat with assistant coach Aitor Karanka saying a disallowed goal early in the second-half by Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain supported coach Jose Mourinho''s controversial claims that Barcelona were favoured by referees.

"I think that after all that has been said this week, everyone saw what we had been going on about today (with regard to Higuain''s goal)," said Karanka, who stood in for Mourinho in the dugout as he was suspended after being sent from the bench last week.

"There is no need to say any more than that, millions of people saw it."

Mourinho chose to stay at the team hotel and watch the match on television.

Barcelona as expected started both Iniesta and Carles Puyol, who were passed fit with the latter filling in at left back for his 100th Champions League appearance for the club.

The Real players knew that they had to hassle Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta to prevent them finding their passing range but when they did get the ball to Lionel Messi and Pedro they had the pace and trickery to do damage. MORE (AFP) PM

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