Thibaut Courtois kept believing as Real Madrid battled back against Manchester City, having already seen the 13-time European champions prove they are “capable of anything”.
On Wednesday, Madrid became the first team in the existing format of the Champions League to reach the final having lost matches in the last 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals.
City had been 4-3 winners at the Etihad Stadium in the first leg and looked on course for another victory at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Less than a minute remained with the scoreline still at 1-0 following Riyad Mahrez’s seemingly vital goal.
But Rodrygo Goes then netted twice in the space of 91 seconds to take the tie to extra time, where Karim Benzema’s penalty sealed a sensational triumph.
Courtois played his part, with one stunning stop from Jack Grealish prior to Rodrygo’s first goal counted among eight saves.
— Thibaut Courtois (@thibautcourtois) May 4, 2022
Only two goalkeepers – Manuel Neuer against Manchester United in 2010-11 and Jan Oblak versus Bayern Munich in 2015-16 (both nine) – have previously made more saves in a single Champions League semi-final match.
And Courtois said afterwards: “This team and this club are capable of anything. We kept believing until the end, and ultimately we made it possible.
“We knew we were in better shape going into extra time; it was a case of digging in and defending well, which is what we did.
“We weren’t great in front of goal – we were missing the final pass, and sometimes it feels like it won’t go for you – but with the goal and the fans behind us, we knew anything could happen.”
Madrid will face Liverpool in what will be a record-extending 17th European Cup or Champions League final appearance.
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