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23.04.2014 » Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich. The Kings of Europe win round 1!

Karim Benzema goal in Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich

Real Madrid secured a very important 1-0 win against Bayern Munich this Wednesday night, after keeping a must-needed clean sheet and scoring through a great counter-attack by Karim Benzema. Cristiano Ronaldo finally made his return to the line-up, but the major key point of the game was how the Merengues managed to defend tight at the back and wisely waited patiently for opportunities to break forward.

It's not by chance that Real Madrid is the most successful club in Europe by holding 9 European Champion titles in their trophy room. The Spanish giants showed off their true mystique this Wednesday night at the Santiago Bernabéu, as they hosted and beat Bayern Munich by 1-0, in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals first leg. As expected, the Germans weren't anything near shy in terms of displaying their possession game style and keep hold of the ball, but in the end, it was Real Madrid who got to create the best chances to score. Cristiano Ronaldo started the game in the line-up despite his physical struggle to overcome an injury in the last few weeks, but ended up being substituted by Gareth Bale in the 73rd minute, apparently only as a precautionary measure. The winning goal was scored by Karim Benzema in the 19th minute of the first half, after a terrific counter-attack play designed by Ronaldo and Fábio Coentrão. Another titanic Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid battle will go down next week in Germany, as the two teams collide one last time this season, in order to decide who goes through to the Champions League final, to be hosted in Lisbon in late May.

Cristiano Ronaldo game photos in Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich
Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich
goals and highlights video:

All Cristiano Ronaldo actions vs Bayern Munich:

The biggest surprise in Real Madrid's line-up for tonight's game was not exactly Cristiano Ronaldo's inclusion, but rather the fact that Gareth Bale wasn't on the final list. The Portuguese forward may not have been at 100% (as Ancelotti himself admitted at the end of the game), but everyone was well aware of how important his presence could be, especially with Gareth Bale out due to the flu he caught earlier this week...

This basically meant that Ancelotti couldn't bank on his preferred BBC upfront partnership and had to return to the 4-4-2 formation that had already yielded great results last week, in the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona. The Italian manager brought Isco in for Gareth Bale's spot and the Spaniard did his job by helping to pack the Merengues' midfield exactly as he had already done in the Clasico. It may not have allowed Real Madrid to win the possession battle (Bayern Munich finished the game with 64% possession, against 36% from the hosts), but it sure helped a lot in terms of closing the gaps and diminishing the chances of becoming too exposed to the visitors' attacking initiatives.

Real Madrid defended the entire game with a remarkable spartan spirit and were very close to even carry a greater advantage into next week's second leg in the Allianz Arena. Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di María had on their feet the opportunity to extend the lead in the first half, but they ended up missing the target when they only had Manuel Neuer in front...

Cristiano Ronaldo blamant miss reaction, in Real Madrid vs Bayern Munchen

However and what the first half ended up showing us more than anything else, was a Bayern Munich side almost obsessed with keeping the ball possession at all costs, while Real Madrid in the other hand, didn't seem to bother much in staying put at the back and simply wait for their opportunities to inflict damage through counter attacks.

The first and only goal of the game was a good evidence of that and it was a brilliant attacking play carried by the Portuguese duo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Fábio Coentrão. The Portuguese left-back, who is in splendid form this season and definitely making the most out of Marcelo's injury, incorporated himself in one of the few attacks engaged by the hosts in the first half and after picking up a perfect pass from Cristiano Ronaldo, he managed to still deliver a superb assist to Karim Benzema in the far post. The Frenchman only had only to tap it in to an empty net and he didn't miss the chance to grant Real Madrid a very precious lead in the game and in this 2-leg tie.

The game didn't change much with Real Madrid's opening goal, even though the hosts did manage to get a bit more possession later in the second half. It's not that it wasn't expected, since Bayern Munich finished the 1st half having near to 75% possession, but struggling to create good goalscoring chances. Real Madrid held on to the 1-goal lead in the remaining minutes of the match and made sure that they will travel to Germany next week with a short advantage that can very well play out to be crucial in the outcome of this tie. Cristiano Ronaldo will now have 6 more days to finish recovering from his injury, since Ancelotti is likely to spare him from this weekend's league fixture against Osasuna.

Real Madrid starting line-up vs Bayern Munich

Real Madrid line-up vs Bayern Munich:

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas
Defenders: Fábio Coentrão, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Carvajal
Midfielders: Xabi Alonso, Modric, Di María, Isco
Attackers: Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema.

Match stats provided by www.ronaldo7.net
Real Madrid
vs
Bayern Munich
1
Goals
0
9
Shots
17
6
Shots on goal
4
3
Corner kicks
15
10
Fouls commited
10
1
Yellow cards
0
0
Red cards
0
36%
Ball possession
64%

Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Real Madrid will be against Bayern Munich, for the UEFA Champions League semi-finals 1st leg, on April 23, 2014. You can watch Juventus live stream, Real Madrid vs Osasuna, Sevilla vs Valencia, Manchester United vs Norwich, and Benfica vs Juventus, all matches provided from our sports live section.

Real Madrid next game:
Real Madrid vs Osasuna
kick-off time (26-04-2014):

Jakarta (Indonesia) | GMT+7: 01:00
Spain
(Madrid) | GMT+2: 20:00
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | GMT+1: 19:00
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | GMT-3: 14:00
New York (United States) | GMT-4: 13:00
Los Angeles (United States) | GMT-7 10:00
Beijing (China) | GMT+8: 02:00

Sources: ronaldo7.net / uefa.com / realmadrid.com

Bayern Munich starting line-up vs Real Madrid

Karim Benzema goal celebration in Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich

Gareth Bale vs Javi Martinez and Philipp Lahm

Cristiano Ronaldo runnning vs David Alaba

Arjen Robben in FC Bayern Munchen 2014

Howard Webb - Real Madrid vs Bayern Munchen referee

Cristiano Ronaldo substituted by Gareth Bale

The Santiago Bernabéu packed, view from the stands

Dante blocking Cristiano Ronaldo shot in Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich

Carvajal tackling Alaba in Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munchen

Cristiano Ronaldo jumping to head a ball in Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich

Robben diving with Sergio Ramos near him

Cristiano Ronaldo on Real Madrid bench

Cristiano Ronaldo grinding his teeth

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