In today's Champions League 2014 first leg semifinals, Spanish Football's La Liga hosts Real Madrid defeated German Football's Bundesliga visitors Bayern Munich 1-0, on the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Madrid, playing a 4-4-2, which has a clearly not-match-ready Cristiano Ronaldo, and benching the still-recovering-from-the-flu Gareth Bale, were outplayed from the visitors your entire first half. Bayern maintained 72% of possession, beating Real to divided balls and pressing them on their half of the pitch.
But Madrid seemed around the task of stopping Bayern along with the middle am well defended by Isco, Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric, Angel di Maria, and the Real defense, how the wings seemed the only option for your Munich team. Ironically, Arjen Robben, perhaps their very best offensive weapon, found himself double-teamed every time he became Bayern's wide offensive outlet. Time after time the Madrid defense stopped Bayern--sometimes cold, other tines with last gasp lunges or blocks, but never requiring a true save from goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Thus went the 1st 18 minutes.
Then came part 2 of Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti's strategy. The counter, a Madrid specialty since Jose Mourinho's days, what food was in full gear and on the 19th minute Fabio Coentrao found Ronaldo at regarding the midfield line. The striker, can not do his usual sprints received, held and after that delivered a great lead pass to his Portuguese teammate about the left wing. Coentrao's cross found Karim Benzema open on the far post for your easy set aside. The resulting score line, Real 1, Bayern 0, was truly from the run of play.
But then the goal inspired Real and at the 25:46 mark another counter saw Ronaldo the person receiving a bouncing cross from Benzema, just about the penalty spot, and also the Portuguese star miss-hit it within the crossbar when a simple downward touch would have ensured the other score.
At the 40:29 minute mark di Maria was the people receiving the final give another nice counter but he sent the ball skyward from very close range with only Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer to beat.
It was clear by half-time that Ancelotti had played all his pieces well while Bayern coach, Pep Guardiola, had assumed his superior forces would simply make an appearance and carry your day. Real's formation must have been a surprise as was Ronaldo's walk out onto the pitch.
As the second half began what each coach could do in order to out-fox the other seemed the question to respond to, the members had already shown they can follow each leader's directions to some tee.
The first chess move was Ancelotti's while he substituted Gareth Bale for Ronaldo to wide applause. Then Guardiola countered bringing in offensive players for midfielders and taking Frank Ribbery out. The gamble, adding countless attacking players rescued Bayern from an impending Real possession restore. And it also provide Bayern with lots of more scoring opportunities.
At the 83rd minute Bayern's golden chance came. Mario Goetze was open in the box, in order to the right of goal contributing to two get more info yards away from goalie's box, and took a spot blank shot at goal going right to left. But the best keeper inside the world, the one that always reacts so quickly even when not called upon all game long, made the save and kept the score line intact for your Real Madrid win.
It may have been too little for Madrid. Bayern is undoubtedly worth two goals in your own home. But Ancelotti is relying upon both of his stars being healthy and ready for longer play in the next leg in Munich. It should be a sport worthy of a championship final and not a semifinal.