Real Madrid Land First Blow Against Bayern
04/23/2014 Madrid, Spain
Real Madrid took control of their Champions League semi-final with a 1-0 first leg victory against reigning holders Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday.
With superstar winger Gareth Bale’s condition thrown into doubt because of the flu, Carlo Ancelotti elected to leave the Welshman on the bench and switch from his regular 4-3-3 formation to a 4-4-2 with Cristiano Ronaldo at forward, perhaps surprising Bayern by conceding possession at home and looking to score off the counter attack.
The move seemed to pay off as Karim Benzema scored the only goal of the match in the 19th minute, converting an easy tap-in after some excellent buildup down Madrid’s left wing from Cristiano Ronaldo and fellow Portuguese teammate Fábio Coentrão.
Bayern’s poor form since wrapping up the Bundesliga title two weeks ago continued, and Pep Guardiola looked helpless to the result at times, making some questionable substitutions in the second half, including the removal of two of his world class offensive stars in Franck Ribéry and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The result leaves Madrid in pole position headed into the return leg next Tuesday at the Allianz Arena.
Real Madrid: Casillas, Carvajal, Pepe (Varane 73), Ramos, Coentrao, Alonso, Modric, Isco (Illarramendi 82), di Maria, Benzema, Ronaldo (Bale 73)
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Rafinha (Martínez 67), Boateng, Dante, Alaba, Lahm, Robben, Kroos, Schweinsteiger (Müller 74), Ribéry (Götze 72), Mandzukic