In a dramatic match, Real Madrid defeated Bayern Munich, 1-0 in the first of two UEFA Champions League semifinal at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Even though Cristiano Ronaldo returned to “Los Blancos'” line-up, the hero of the match was Karim Benzama, who scored in the single goal in the 19th minute and it was all Real needed.
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Iker Casillas stopped a close call with only six-minutes left in regulation, but other than that, wasn’t too busy the rest of the match:
Real Madrid moved one step closer to winning their 10th UEFA Champions League title and also ended Pep Guardiola’s winning streak at the Bernabeu.
Bayern Munich — the current Champs — stopped a multitude of opportunities Carlo Ancelotti’s team had all match long, which would have given the Spanish club a much more comfortable lead and as is usual, Bayern kept possession of the football for the majority of the match, which also contributed to the low score.
Guardiola was seen throwing his water bottle in frustration, prompting him to later admit:
“We controlled the game but Real Madrid were waiting to counterattack and they have the players to take advantage. Real Madrid are the best counter-attacking team in the world.”
“I congratulate Real Madrid. They won and were better than us.”
In the 72nd minute, Ancelotti exchanged Gareth Bale for Cristiano Ronaldo. This was the first time the Portuguese striker had been in the line-up in the last four games, but Bale was said to be suffering from the flu, so was scratched as a starter.
It was clear that Ancelotti’s plan of attack was to let Bayern take possession of the football and hurt them in the counter-attack. Guardiola was right, Real Madrid showed tonight that they are the masters of the counter-attack and that is were the danger laid for the German team.
Now things move to Germany and for Bayern, it is do or die time, but Munich’s captain Philipp Lahm is confident the team can improve its performance, “I’m optimistic that in the Allianz Arena, everything is possible for us,” he told a German TV station following the end of the game.
Do you think Bayern Munich can defeat Real Madrid at home next week?