Carlo Ancelotti admits Real Madrid endured a night of suffering before ultimately progressed to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
The Spanish side suffered a 2-0 second-leg defeat at the hands of Borussia Dortmund, a week after beating last year’s finalists 3-0 at the Bernabeu.
A Marco Reus brace reduced Dortmund’s arrears to one goal before half-time, but a stunning second-half display from Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas ensured that Madrid progressed to the final four.
However, Ancelotti concedes it was not easy to watch from the Real dugout and believes Angel Di Maria’s 16th-minute penalty miss shifted momentum in the hosts’ favour.
“It was a night of suffering but at the end of it we are happy as we are through to the semi-finals,” he told UEFA’s official website.
“The game was a difficult one. In the first half, we gave [the ball] away too much. We improved after the break. We needed a lift in spirits and to change some things a bit in the second half.
“The team needed to be encouraged more during the break. For me, the key to the match was the penalty we missed.”
Cristiano Ronaldo was a notable omission from the Real starting line-up having picked up a knock in the reverse fixture and Ancelotti revealed he did not want to gamble with his star player.
“Cristiano was OK but we preferred not to risk him tonight,” he added. “He will be fully recovered for the semi-finals. At this stage of the tournament, every rival you face is going to be difficult.”
Casillas played a pivotal role to deny Dortmund’s spirited efforts in the second half to ensure Real survived the scare and claims his side must learn their lessons from the Westfalenstadion reverse.
“Maybe it’s good for us to receive a wake-up call like that from time to time,” the Real Madrid captain said.
“It’s better that it came tonight and not in the upcoming games we have.
“The first goal we conceded was from our mistake and the second came from another error in midfield. We also missed a penalty.
“The good thing was that we then knew how to deal with being under pressure.”
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