Karim Benzema’s first half goal handed Real Madrid and one nil win over holders Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
In a gripping and fast-paced encounter the France international opened the scoring on 19 minutes for the nine-times champions after easily tapping home a Fábio Coentrão square pass from the left flank.
Cristiano Ronaldo came close to doubling his side’s lead on 25 minutes but sent the ball sailing over the crossbar from six yards with only Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer to beat.
Five minutes before the break Angel Di Maria had an equally good chance to give his team some extra breathing room but followed in his teammate’s footsteps and sent the ball well on its way to the car park despite having Benzema and Ronaldo hovering freely around the penalty area.
After a thrilling first half Real Madrid entered the second with verve and vigour and continued to threaten their German opponents, although they had trouble finishing off their well-worked and fast-paced moves from midfield.
As the clocked ticked into the final ten minutes Real Madrid fell deeper into their own half to protect their lead and wait for the counter attack.
That almost backfired as Mario Goetze almost levelled from close range with a fierce half-volley on 83 minutes but an alert Iker Casillas was up to the task as he parried away to safety.
Thomas Muller had a half chance in stoppage time but Xabi Alonso managed to get himself in between the forward and the ball to keep the scoreline the same – a tackle that left Muller screaming for a penalty that was not forthcoming from English referee Howard Webb.
Despite a couple of Munich near misses a well-organized Madrid side managed to hold their opponents at bay to hand themselves the slight upper hand ahead of the return leg in Munich next Tuesday.
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