Stoke flop Joselu scores dramatic brace as Real Madrid reach Champions League final

Joselu celebrates his equaliser. (Image: Getty)

Two late goals from substitute Joselu sent Real Madrid into the Champions League final as they beat Bayern Munich 2-1 on a dramatic night at the Bernabeu. A sublime second half strike from Alfonso Davies had put the Germans ahead, as he latched onto Harry Kane’s crossfield ball, cut in from the left and unleashed an unstoppable shot into Andriy Lunin’s top corner. But former Stoke man Joselu tapped in for Real after Manuel Neuer’s error, and in injury time turned in Antonio Rudiger’s cross to spark manic celebrations. Express Sport looks at the main talking points from a night of another Champions League night of high tension and drama….

Joselu’s unlikely intervention

He scored four goals in 27 games for Stoke, and just seven in 52 for Newcastle, and was relegated in the previous two seasons in Spain. And yet the 34-year-old Joselu, on loan from Espanyol, could now be cemented in folklore by fans of the world’s biggest football club.

His late equaliser, after Bayern keeper Neuer had spilled Vinicius Junior’s effort, underlined a predatory instinct that was notably missing in England. The close range finish to win it was a well-executed volley, and now a man once ridiculed by fans in English football will have a career defined by saving Real Madrid on club football’s biggest stage.

Tuchel’s Premier League audition turns sour

With his departure from Bayern Munich already confirmed, Thomas Tuchel continues to be linked to both Manchester United and former club Chelsea. And if he wanted to put yourself in the shop window, winning at the Bernabeu to make a Champions League final would have been some way to do it.

There was more Champions League pain for Harry Kane. (Image: Getty)

But when a glorious night seemed on the cards, it was snatched away from the German. In the early stages in particular, it had been Real who dominated the territory and possession. Their visitors meanwhile, were content to sit deep and occasionally counter through the speed of Leroy Sane and quality of Kane.

It is no coincidence that under Tuchel, Bayern have struggled domestically when the onus has been on them to attack, and yet gone toe-to-toe with the likes of Arsenal and Real when patience and resolution have been required. Tuchel would shore up the current shambles at United in particular, but football can be cruel and that chaotic finish may yet scupper his future ambitions.

Neuer shines before inexplicable error

Only Ilkay Casillas has made more goalkeeper appearances in the Champions League than Bayern icon Manuel Neuer, and his 140th appearance in the competition proved that the continued selection for the 38-year-old is no nostalgia pick. Or so it seemed.

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He reacted superbly to deny Rodrygo from close range in the first half, and was later at full stretch to tip away Vinicius Junior’s curling effort. And it was the same two players thwarted again after the break as the No.1 looked set to be the hero for the away side.

And then, football’s original ‘sweeper keeper’ produced a moment that will haunt him. The shot from Vinicius was straight at him, and yet Neuer contrived to drop it straight into the path of Joselu. A horrible moment and one not befitting of one of the game’s greats – and it cost Bayern dear.

Kane’s trophy pain continues

Even by Harry Kane’s standards, to strike 44 goals in his maiden season in Germany signifies a campaign beyond prolific. But behind the statistics ahead of the game tonight lay a brutal reality – heading into the summer having not broken his personal trophy drought would represent an element of failure.

The undoubted quality of Kane was apparent early on, linking with his midfielders before testing Andriy Lunin with a superb twist and volley from 20-yards. And then his crossfield pass for the Davies goal seemingly meant he would go to Wembley in June just 90 minutes away from finally lifting coveted silverware.

Instead, the wait for the England captain goes on. Whatever happens in Kane’s career he will be remembered as a a phenomenal goalscorer, but the empty cabinet that taints his legacy remains bare.

The decision of Tuchel to haul his talisman off at 1-0 up late on is also likely to face scrutiny. Kane’s international team-mate Jude Bellingham had an underwhelming night – but Bellingham has a Champions League final to prepare for.