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, having a clearly not-match-ready Cristiano Ronaldo, and benching the still-recovering-from-the-flu Gareth Bale, were outplayed by the visitors your entire first half. Bayern maintained 72% of possession, beating Real to divided balls and pressing them on the half of the pitch.
But Madrid seemed around the task of stopping Bayern and the middle am well defended by Isco, Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric, Angel di Maria, along with the Real defense, the wings seemed the only option to the Munich team. Ironically, Arjen Robben, perhaps their best offensive weapon, found himself double-teamed each and 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 real save from goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Thus went the very first 18 minutes.
Then came part 2 of Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti's strategy. The counter, a Madrid specialty since Jose Mourinho's days, was in full gear and in the 19th minute Fabio Coentrao found Ronaldo at regarding the midfield line. The striker, not able to do his usual sprints received, held then delivered the perfect lead pass to his Portuguese teammate on the left wing. Coentrao's cross found Karim Benzema open in the far post for your easy put away. The resulting score line, Real 1, Bayern 0, was truly from the run of play.
But then a goal inspired Real and with the 25:46 mark another counter saw Ronaldo the recipient of a bouncing cross from Benzema, just in regards to the penalty spot, along with the Portuguese star miss-hit it over the crossbar whenever a simple downward touch would've ensured the other score.
At the 40:29 minute mark di Maria was the people receiving the final spread another nice counter but he sent the ball skyward from very close range sufficient reason for only Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer to conquer.
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 arrive and carry the morning. Real's formation must have been a surprise as was Ronaldo's walk out onto the pitch.
As the 2nd half began what each coach could do in order to out-fox the opposite seemed the question to respond to, the players had already shown they might follow each leader's directions with a tee.
The first chess move was Ancelotti's as they substituted Gareth Bale for Ronaldo to wide applause. Then Guardiola countered earning offensive players for midfielders and taking Frank Ribbery out. The gamble, adding so many attacking players rescued Bayern from an impending Real possession take back. And it also provide Bayern with a lot of more scoring opportunities.
At the 83rd minute Bayern's golden get more info chance came. Mario Goetze was open inside the box, only to the right of goal and about two yards outside the goalie's box, and took a place blank shot at goal going directly to left. But the best keeper in the world, the individual that always reacts so fast even when not asked all game long, made the save and kept the score line intact for your Real Madrid win.
It might have been too little for Madrid. Bayern is unquestionably worth two goals in your house. But Ancelotti is relying on both of his stars being healthy and ready for longer play in the next leg in Munich. It should be a casino game worthy of a championship final rather than a semifinal.