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, with the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Madrid, playing a 4-4-2, using 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 his or her half of the pitch.
But Madrid seemed around the task of stopping Bayern and also the middle was so well defended by Isco, Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric, Angel di Maria, and the Real defense, that this wings seemed the only option to the Munich team. Ironically, Arjen Robben, perhaps their very 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 an actual save from goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Thus went the very first 18 minutes.
Then came part two 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 concerning the midfield line. The striker, not able to do his usual sprints received, held and after that delivered a great lead pass to his Portuguese teammate around the left wing. Coentrao's cross found Karim Benzema open with the far post for your easy put away. The resulting score line, Real 1, Bayern 0, was truly up against the run of play.
But then your goal inspired Real and with the 25:46 mark another counter saw Ronaldo the person receiving a bouncing cross from Benzema, just regarding the penalty spot, as well as the Portuguese star bola miss-hit it within the crossbar every time a simple downward touch might have ensured the other score.
At the 40:29 minute mark di Maria was the person receiving the final offer another nice counter but he sent the ball skyward from very close range with only Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer to overpower.
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 appear and carry the morning. Real's formation must have been a surprise as was Ronaldo's go out onto the pitch.
As the other half began what each coach could do to out-fox one other seemed the question to answer, players had already shown they are able to follow each leader's directions to a 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 numerous attacking players rescued Bayern from an impending Real 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, in order to the right of goal resulting in two yards outside the goalie's box, and took a place blank shot at goal going directly to left. But the best keeper inside 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 your Real Madrid win.
It could have been too little for Madrid. Bayern is certainly worth two goals in your own home. But Ancelotti is relying on both of his stars being healthy and ready for longer play in the 2nd leg in Munich. It should be a game worthy of a championship final and never a semifinal.