(CNN)Better late than never.
Real Madrid secured its place in the semifinals of the Champions League after claiming a dramatic 1-0 victory over city rival Atletico Madrid.
Javier Hernandez, the forward who had missed a host of chances throughout the evening, netted an 88th minute winner to settle a tetchy and often uninspiring tie.
Real, the 10-time winner, recorded their first victory of the season in eight attempts against an Atletico side which was reduced to 10-men in the closing stages.
Arda Turan, the Turkish midfielder, was shown a second yellow card for a tackle on Sergio Ramos, and was forced to leave the field with 14 minutes remaining.
After a goalless first leg, this was always likely to be a tense contest and so it proved.
Real, which dominated for long periods and created the better chances, finally found a way through a stubborn Atletico defense courtesy of Hernandez's finish.
Familiarity breeds contempt so the saying goes and this meeting -- the eighth between the teams since last season's final was full of the kind of physicality which has become synonymous with such occasions.
Since last season's final, which Real won 4-1 after entering the 90th minute of the contest a goal adrift, the reigning champion has endured a dismal record against its neighbor.
Of the seven previous meetings, Real had failed to muster a single victory, losing three occasions and managing to draw on four.
Last week, Real was denied victory by the heroics of Jan Oblak, the Atletico goalkeeper.
His performance, which frustrated the visiting side, allowed Atletico to dream of redemption.
It was a task which should have made Atletico's task ostensibly easier given Real's injury problems. Luka Modric, outstanding since his return from injury, was ruled until the end of the season after suffering knee ligament damage during the recent victory over Malaga.
Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, two of the three components of the much vaunted 'BBC' were both forced to watch from the sidelines after sustaining injuries, while Marcelo missed out through suspension.
While chances were few in the opening period, it was Real which looked the more threatening of the two and Oblak produced a fine save to deny Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo, the first player in Spanish football to score 50 goals in five successive seasons, was gifted a golden opportunity to fire his side ahead just before the interval.
A mistake in the Atletico midfield allowed Real to gather possession and when the ball was passed into Ronaldo's feet, the Portuguese unleashed a fierce effort which Oblak blocked.
Real, with Hernandez deputizing for Benzema at the center of the attack, should have moved ahead almost immediately after the break.
Isco, who was afforded both time and space, picked the perfect pass to dissect the Atletico defense but Hernandez somehow managed to steer his effort wide of the far post.
Real, second in La Liga and two points behind leader Barcelona, continued to look the more likely to break the deadlock with Ronaldo bringing yet another save out of the impressive Oblak.
Its second half dominance was given added impetus with 14 minutes remaining when Arda Turan, the Atletico midfielder, was dismissed after picking up a second yellow card.