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UEFA Champions League
3 April 2014
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 70089
G. Bale 3'
Cristiano Ronaldo 57'
That's my cue, bye for now!
Is the end of the road in sight for last season's runners up? they were well beaten here at the Bernabeu by a professional Madrid performance. Goals from Bale, Isco and Ronaldo did the damage, and Dortmund just did not have any reply. In fact, Madrid could have added a fourth had they been more ruthless in the latter stages, and will surely look to close out the job in the second leg.
90' + 6'
Full time here!
90' + 5'
And for the third time tonight, Hummels gets the better of Morata in the box. The substitute had controlled a long ball from Modric well, and attempted to spin past his marker towards goal, but Hummels comes across to help out his teammate and make a great tackle. He's been Dortmund's best player by far on the night.
90' + 3'
Nearly another chance for Morata to get a one-on-one with Weidelfeller as he's set loose on the counter attack, but Hummels, for the second time, has kept stride with him and pulls off a quite splendid sliding challenge to nip the ball off his toes.
90' + 1'
We're into the first of four minutes of added time, and the jig is just about up for Dortmund. Elsewhere in the Champions League, Javier Pastore has just scored a wonderful solo effort to give PSG a 3-1 lead over Chelsea in their quarter final.
Decent chance there for Madrid again, who are really bossing it as the last embers of this game burn out. Morata was freed down the left hand side and had space to work the ball into the box, or run in on goal himself, but he is confronted by Hummels, and forced into a safe pass that takes the danger out of that attack.
Ramos takes it, but he needn't have bothered. Attempting his typical knuckle-ball technique, he instead balloons the set piece laughably high over the top. He'll probably not get another chance from there, I'm guessing.
Yellow Card Kevin Großkreutz
Morata has the step on Grosskreutz at the top of the box, but he's clipped to the turf just as he was shaping to cut inside and shoot. Clear foul and Grosskreutz is booked, the third yellow card for Dortmund tonight. Good free kick chance for the home side to boot...
Aubameyang has been absolutely impotent tonight, and he wastes another half chance with a dreadful display of shooting technique. He races goalside of his marker to collect the ball, but drags his effort well wide of Casillas' left hand post.
THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE END OF IT! Some absolutely scintillating speed and footwork from Bale takes him down half of the pitch and past three players. But having done the hard work, the Welshman blazes his finish over the top!
To be honest, there's not a whole lot happening down on the pitch. Dortmund have most of the possession, but there's a conspicuous lack of a cutting edge in their attack. Madrid are defending quite comfortably, and hope is slowly ebbing away for the 2013 runners up.
Slight problem for Ronaldo here, and Ancelotti takes no risks with his star man. We're treated to the relatively rare sight of the Portuguese international departing before full time, and the Bernabeu boo boys go silent for a second as he's applauded off by the rest of the faithful. On comes Casemiro for the final stretch. All subs used for both sides now.
Still mostly Dortmund making the effort in attack, as Ancelotti seems content for his side to hold what they have. One goal from Dortmund will change this tie on its head though, and give them a fighting chance for the second leg at Signal Iduna Park, especially with Lewandowski back in contention. Remember what he did to Madrid last time at that stadium...
The Bernabeu stands and applauds Benzema as he jogs off the pitch, with Morata taking his place for the final spell. The young striker has been attracting the attention of many of Europe's clubs in recent months, but despite his talent, the sheer gravitas of Madrid's BBC attack has kept him largely on the sidelines.
Final change of the game for Dortmund. Kehl, suspended for the second leg with a yellow card tonight, and dog tired by this point, makes way for Jojic - the 22 year old replacing a man a dozen years his senior.
Dortmund continue to storm forward in numbers here as they look for a crucial away goal. Reus draws an incredible save from Casillas, who thwarted him from point blank range, but it wouldn't have counted had it gone in, as a handball call chalks off the play.
A change that has been the offing for a few minutes comes to fruition. Isco, scorer or a well taken second goal for Madrid, makes way for Illarramendi, who has completed his warmup and will look to help protect the back four and use the ball efficiently in the final stretch.
Madrid suddenly regain the ball and launch an immediate counter attack. Isco is the man advancing, and he has options either side of him. He picks out Benzema on the left, who cuts in onto his stronger right foot, driving across the top of the box to have a shot, but a deflection takes the venom out of it and Weidenfeller can collect comfortably.
The ball's been with Dortmund for the last few minutes, and they're attempting to move it quickly down the lines to combat the soaking conditions. Madrid though are defending in numbers, and for now, they're preventing many gaps from appearing.
Hang on, another change from Klopp. Piszczek has just had an awful evening. He was barely fit to start anyway, having picked up a knock against Stuttgart over the weekend, but gave away the second goal with a poor pass. On comes Schieber in a clear attacking move from the Dortmund coach.
First change of the game from either side. Mkhtaryan's race is run, and it hasn't been much to write home about. He had one or two flashes of quality, and was denied at the last by Pepe, but he was generally in the back pocket of the defence. On comes Hoffman to hopefully spark something for Dortmund.
WEIDENFELLER WITH THE SAVE! Oh that was a great opening for Benzema to grab the fourth for the home side, as he viciously attacks a bouncing ball in the box with a half-volley, but the fingertips of the keeper is what prevents that shot from bursting a hole in the net!
Madrid have a three on two break down at the other end, and it's the sight that no defence wants to see, Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo streaming forward at you with severe pace. However, Dortmund survive that hairy moment when Benzema's diagonal to Bale just goes a little too close to Sokratis.
MKHITARYAN WAS ALREADY CELEBRATING, but Pepe pulls off an incredible block! Reus' cross from the right was spilled by Casillas, but just when the Armenian looked primed to poke home the loose ball, in comes Pepe to challenge him at the last! Magnificent!
One hundred appearances in the Champions League for Ronaldo, and that goal marks his 14th this season in the CL in just eight games. That ties the best ever mark in this competition, and who's to say that he can't take the record outright by the time this match is over!
Assist Luka Modric
Goal Cristiano Ronaldo
Piszczek has to hold up his hand and take the blame there. He played a pass infield that was impossible for Sahin to get to, and Modric nips in to take the ball, playing in Ronaldo who deftly rolls the ball into the back of the net!
MADRID HAVE THREE! GAME OVER?
AND AT THE OTHER END! Oh what an opening that was for Dortmund! Reus' pass is a little heavy for Aubameyang, who still recovers the ball and cuts back to Mkhitaryan, who lashes a shot agonizingly wide of the far post! Close shave for the Madrid defence!
SOMEHOW IT GOES OVER THE TOP! Ronaldo streams clear down the left hand flank, leaving his man for dead and advancing into the box from the byeline. Benzema is in position inside the six yard area, but there's Mats Hummels with a GAME SAVING block!
Ancelotti's got his hood on now, as the rain continues to pour down here over the Bernabeu turf. He'll probably be a little concerned by his team's offering in the second half so far though, as Dortmund have looked the better team. He'll surely want his side to kill this tie off, which they probably will with a third goal.
Have to say that Dortmund have made a much better start to this half than they did in the one that preceded it. They looks exponentially more secure when defending, and are also showing some promise in attack, stringing a few pass and move sequences together in advanced areas. Madrid aren't home free yet!
Oh dear, oh dear. That was quite the chance for Dortmund and for Aubameyang. Reus was clever and deceptive on the ball to spot a gap and play in Aubameyang through the right side of the box, but with a good gap to aim for, the Gabonese forward drags a flaccid shot wide of the far post!
CHANCE FOR MADRID! Modric has space deep on the left flank, and elects to slide a pinpoint ball straight forward to Bale. The Welshman has the step on Durm once again, but, advancing on goal, his poked attempt at a finish cannot beat Weidenfeller, who rushed off his line to close the angle.
A sudden change in the weather here at the Bernabeu, as we're currently in the midst of a downpour. But unlike the weather, there's been no alterations in the XI's from either manager. Understandable from both perspectives, as Ancelotti has no need to change a winning formula, while Klopp has precious little on his bench to change the game even if he wanted to.
Here we go again folks.
Once again, this scoreline is not in any way an aberration, as Madrid have been in control from the first whistle. Bale's early opener and Isco's cool finish have given the Liga side a deserved advantage. Dortmund began to find their feet a little towards the end of the half, but overall, they've been a very visible second best. Still, one goal from BVB, and this tie is right back into the blender!
45' + 3'
That's the end of the first half.
45' + 2'
And that Durm injury has just about eaten through the lone minute of stoppage time awarded by the fourth official, but there's still time for one more Madrid chance! The hosts counter at extreme pace, and Ronaldo is isolated against Sokratis, who challenges him and sends him to the turf! Nothing doing from the referee though, despite howls from the crowd!
45' + 1'
Man down for Dortmund here as we head into stoppage time. Durm is writhing in agony down on the turf, having taken a knock in an aerial duel with Bale defending a corner. No malicious intent from the Welshman, but it still looked like a painful chop to the stomach.
It's gotten late enough in the half that both sides appear content to see out the current scoreline to the interval. Not a lot of risks being taken in the pitch anymore as far as committing men forward. Benzema fails to get in touch with a raking long ball from Ramos, but it was always a tough ask for the Frenchman.
Its all rather rushed from Dortmund at the moment, and Aubameyang, never the most composed of characters, is guilty of wasting a good shooting chance. He turns into a shooting position at the top of the box, but instead of picking his spot, he leans back and hacks a wild effort over the top. Simply not good enough on that attempt.
Cutting break down the left hand side sees Benzema hold the ball up well before releasing Ramos, who has the legs to sprint past the huffing and puffing Hummels. He digs out a low centre towards Ronaldo, but the Portuguese cannot bring it under control at the vital moment and Durm gets in the way to get rid of the danger.
After some positivity from Dortmund in the last few minutes, Madrid get back to basics, fashioning another chance. Carvajal and Bale link up out wide, before the former angles in a cross for Benzema, who heads over the bar. It's more finely poised out on the pitch now.
PENALTY? Pepe barges right into Mkhitaryan inside the area, and the Armenian playmaker goes tumbling. Mark Clattenburg had a good look at that but decided to wave play on. However, looking at the replays, I'm not so sure that the ref was 100 per cent correct, as Pepe didn't make much of an attempt to get to the ball!
FINALLY A SAVE FOR CASILLAS! By far the best chance of the first half for Dortmund. Grosskreutz is afforded a little too much space to carry the ball infield, and he spots the gap to shoot. He finds the target, but Casillas reads it all the way and thwarts him. Still, that was more like the regular BVB, countering at pace!
Real Madrid have another promising free kick near the edge of the penalty area. Ronaldo had a crack earlier, but this time, it's Bale lining it up. He hits it hard and true, and for the second time this game, Weidenfeller has to stretch to tip a Madrid set piece away from goal!
Sebastian Kehl has been booked, the second Dortmund player to have his name taken tonight. That is a bitter pill for the German side to swallow, as their veteran midfielder will now miss the second leg, adding him to their long list of absentees.
Yellow Card Sebastian Kehl
Well what does that mean for Dortmund's hopes of reaching their second straight semi final? This scoreline does not flatter Ancelotti's men one bit, and paints a deadly accurate picture of this game. Something needs to change for the Germans, but looking at their options, can much more be expected?
That was a little too easy for Madrid! Take nothing away from Isco though, who collected a pass at the top of the box, turned onto his right boot and planted a low shot convincingly into the corner! It probably could have been avoided though.
ISCO ADDS ANOTHER!
It's looking better for Dortmund in recent minutes, as they've managed to string a few passes together in the opposition half. Madrid are defending with purpose and awareness though, and making it hard for Aubameyang, Reus, Mkhitaryan and Co. to find any gaps.
Dortmund manage to register their first shot on target, but it's hardly anything to worry Casillas. Sahin was the man to take aim from distance, but he never made the Madrid keeper move in order to smother the shot. A positive sign for the visitors though.
Reus is in the thick of things once again, but this time, its all positive from the forward. He digs out a deep cross, aimed at Grosskreutz at the far post, but Pepe is on hand to make the interception. The Portuguese defender goes down moments later and is struggling, but he's able to continue for now.
Yellow Card Marco Reus
First booking of the game coming in, and no surprise to see it go to a Dortmund player. Reus, to his credit, was doing his job defensively on the flank, but he just went in a little late on Coentrao.
Ronaldo yet again is afforded another half chance to get a shot away. He meets a good cross from the left flank, delivered by Coentrao, but Sokratis is on his game to reach that ball first. The Greek defender has responded to the call admirably in the opening exchanges - the question is, can he maintain it for the full 90?
Still only one side in this game, with Madrid controlling all the possession and forcing Dortmund to adapt to their terms. To be honest, with Lewandowski absent and Reus and Aubameyang taking turns leading the line, the visitors have little choice but to adopt a counter attacking approach anyway. So far we've seen nothing of the sort though.
WHAT A CRACKER! Nearly a stunner from Ronaldo, who tests Weidenfeller for the second time in two minutes! This time though, it's a much harder save for the keeper to make, as he has to stretch to his fullest to tip over an impossibly powerful and swerving free-kick from the Portuguese!
Ronaldo, in his 100th Champions League appearance, forces Weidenfeller into a save, striding forward through the middle of the park and unleashing a bouncing, tricky shot that the German keeper has to push to his left hand side!
Madrid have gotten the ball into the back of the net for a second time, and it's Bale again, but it's correctly chalked off for an offside. That sparks a rare spell of possession in the Madrid half for BVB, but they go nowhere fast, as Madrid's pressure on the man on the ball is tremendous.
Dortmund need a respite badly here, as Real Madrid have the answer to their famed gegenpressing approach. The ball movement from los Blancos has been well thought out early on. Some silky footwork from Isco nearly frees Ronaldo down the left for a shooting attempt, but Sokratis manages to clear.
Well then, Dortmund started the game the better side, but they've been hit by the ultimate rapid fire punch. They had better watch themselves, because Madrid suddenly look in the mood and are hungry for another goal! It's been a lightning quick start in the other tie too, as Lavezzi has given PSG an early lead against Chelsea!
Assist Daniel Carvajal
Goal Gareth Bale
THAT'S WHAT THESE FANS WANTED TO SEE! Benzema holds the ball up down the right hand side, which draws a marker and frees a gap for Carvajal to exploit on the same flank. He drives the ball into the centre of the box, where Bale reacts quickest to prod a finish into the back of the net!
BALE! ALREADY! WHAT A START!
Here we go!
But as I alluded to before, this is not the same Dortmund side that came into this stadium with such confidence last season. Only four of the 11 that started that game play tonight. Dortmund have a big ask if they are to record a first ever win at the Bernabeu, especially with Madrid's formidable home record against German opponents - winning 19, drawing four and losing only two. In fact, BVB have only ever one once in Spain - against Atletico in 1996-97.
Every football fan with half a brain will remember the feast that was last year's semi final meeting between these two sides. Lewandowski's quadruple helped BVB shank Madrid 4-1 in the first leg, but los Blancos refused to bleed out, scoring twice late on in the second leg, but their eventual 2-0 win was not enough to take them to the final.
Even Lukasz Piszczek has been barely passed fit for this game, while Robert Lewandowski also misses out thanks to a suspension. So, Klopp has chosen Marco Reus to spearhead the attack, flanked by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and that jack of all trades, Kevin Grosskreutz. Veteran Sebastian Kehl is starting in midfield, while Erik Durm and Sokratis fill out the back four.
Poor Jurgen Klopp has had a massive and ever rotating injury list to contend with all season, which is partly, but not fully, to blame for their below par showings domestically. Here's a rundown of the notables on their casualty list - Neven Subotic, Sven Bender, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Marcel Schmelzer and Ilkay Gundogan.
More swaps for Madrid, as Fabio Coentrao is drafted in at left back to fill the void left by the injured Marcelo. And interestingly in goal, Iker Casillas has returned between the posts, with Diego Lopez dropping to the bench. Overall though, given his selection options, it's a fairly expected XI from Ancelotti.
So there we have it. Carlo Ancelotti had to deal with the last minute withdrawal of Angel Di Maria due to a virus, but he's chucked the precocious Isco in to spearhead the midfield trio. Di Maria should have had what Luka Modric was taking, as the Croatian recovers from a round of the flu to take his place in the XI.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND (4-2-3-1): Weidenfeller; Piszcek, Durm, Sokratis, Hummels; Kehl, Sahin; Grosskreutz, Aubameyang, Mhkitaryan; Reus.
MADRID SUBS: Diego López, Varane, Nacho, Casemiro, Illarramendi, José Rodríguez, Morata.
REAL MADRID (4-3-3): Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Alonso, Modric, Isco; Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale.
Let's dive right into our teams, shall we?
Hello and welcome everyone, to another exciting day of Champions League action, as Real Madrid host Borussia Dortmund at the Bernabeu. I'm Keeghann Sinanan, your designated scribe for all the action.
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