True Madrid surprises Bayern Munich in Champions LeagueIn 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, in 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 with the visitors the complete first half. Bayern maintained 72% of possession, beating Real to divided balls and pressing them on their half of the pitch.
But Madrid seemed approximately 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 finest 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 initial 18 minutes.
Then came part 2 of Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti's strategy. The counter, a Madrid specialty since Jose Mourinho's days, was at full gear and at the 19th minute Fabio Coentrao found Ronaldo at regarding the midfield line. The striker, not able to do his usual sprints received, held after which 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 concerning the penalty spot, as well as the Portuguese star miss-hit it in the crossbar whenever a simple downward touch could have ensured the other score.
At the 40:29 minute mark di Maria was the recipient of the final pass on another nice counter but he sent the ball skyward from very close range with only Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer to get over.
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 the day. Real's formation must have been a surprise as was Ronaldo's walk out onto the pitch.
As the next 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 to some tee.
The first chess move was Ancelotti's while he substituted Gareth Bale for Ronaldo to wide applause. Then Guardiola countered attracting offensive players for midfielders and taking Frank Ribbery out. The gamble, adding countless attacking players rescued Bayern from an impending Real get more info possession restore. And it also provide Bayern with many more scoring opportunities.
At the 83rd minute Bayern's golden chance came. Mario Goetze was open within the box, simply to the right of goal leading to two yards outside of the goalie's box, and took an area blank shot at goal going to certainly left. But the best keeper in the world, the one who always reacts so fast even when not asked all game long, made the save and kept the score line intact for that Real Madrid win.
It was too little for Madrid. Bayern is undoubtedly worth two goals in your house. But Ancelotti is counting on both of his stars being healthy and ready for extended play in the second leg in Munich. It should be a game worthy of a championship final and not a semifinal.