Real Madrid reach Champions League final

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during a Champions League semifinal. Photo / AP
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during a Champions League semifinal. Photo / AP

Defending champion Real Madrid withstood an early onslaught by Atletico Madrid to reach a third Champions League final in four years despite a 2-1 loss to its city rival today.

Atletico, which trailed 3-0 after the first leg, scored twice in the first 16 minutes at the Vicente Calderon Stadium to move within a goal of sending the semifinal second-leg into extra time. But Francisco "Isco" Alarcon netted a crucial away goal for Real Madrid before halftime to secure a 4-2 victory on aggregate and a spot in the final against Juventus on June 3 in Cardiff.

Madrid will try to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since the competition's new format was created in 1992. Madrid will be the first team to have a chance to defend its title since Manchester United made it to consecutive finals in 2008-09.

Atletico ends its Champions League campaign without a shot at the title and with its fourth straight elimination to its powerful Spanish rival. Madrid defeated Atletico in the final last year and in 2014, and also eliminated the crosstown opponent in the quarterfinals in 2015.

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