A single goal by French footballer Karim Benzeman was enough for home team Real Madrid to claim victory over Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.
The teams renewed their European rivalry at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium with a 20th meeting in Europe’s premier tournament.
Striker Karim Benzema brought the hometown crowd to its feet when he neatly tucked away a cross from Fabio Coentrao 19 minutes into the game.
Madrid kept Bayern goalie Manuel Neuer on his toes throughout the first half, with two dangerously close attempts from Angel Di Maria and another pair from Cristiano Ronaldo, who returned on Wednesday from a left leg muscle injury which had sidelined him for four games.
Bayern methodically worked its way toward Madrid’s goal, but consistently failed to turn their efforts into a shot on goal.
Madrid’s aggressive offence continued early in the second half, with Bayern’s Neuer diving to successfully deflect a rocket off the foot of Ronaldo in minute 48.
Spanish midfielder Isco earned a yellow card in minute 57 after stopping an attempted cross by Bayern’s Arjen Robben with his right bicep.
An inspired run toward Madrid’s goal by Robben minutes later raised hopes of a German equaliser, but in the end the Dutch star only mustered a puttering shot into the hands of Iker Casillas.
Rising star Gareth Bale, who began the evening on the bench after being hit with the flu ahead of the clash, replaced Ronaldo with 15 minutes left in regulation time.
Bayern patiently worked to find a hole in Madrid’s defence, but could not find one as the clock ticked away.
A left-footed shot by Thomas Mueller in minute 81 struck fear into the hearts of Spanish football fans, but it sailed left of the goalposts.
Another shot by Bayern’s Mario Goetze four minutes later was Bayern’s best chance to score in the evening, but Casilla’s quick hands deflected it and kept the German team scoreless.
Muller called for a penalty after a spill in front of Madrid’s goal in minute 91, but the referee let the game continue, allowing Madrid to claim the victory.
The two teams will meet for the second leg of the semis in Munich on April 29.
Date created : 2014-04-23