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April 24, 2014
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 79283
K. Benzema 19'
Los Blancos got everything right defensively, with Bayern looking a little predictable and toothless in attack. Guardiola wasn't happy with the performance, but Real Madrid are well on course to continue their quest for La Decima. I've been Simon Harrison and I hope to see you again next time.
FULL TIME! What a brilliant result for Real Madrid, who take an advantage to the Allianz Arena next week! Benzema's goal was the only thing that could separate the two sides, with Gotze being denied brilliantly by Casillas, before Alonso denied Muller at the death with a terrific last ditch challenge.
90' + 4'
A couple of important challenges fly in from Alonso and Modric, as the home side look to ride out the late pressure from the Bundesliga champions. Bayern continue to be frustrated and it seems as though they'll be heading back to Germany without an away goal.
90' + 2'
Muller wants a penalty and so does the Bayern substitutes bench! The Germany international tries to spin and finish from six yards out, but was foiled by a great recovering tackle from Alonso! Muller clearly feels as though he's been taken out by the central midfielder.
90' + 1'
Half chance for Real Madrid! Di Maria plays a ball forward to Benzema, who lets the pass run through his legs, in the hope of an overlapping player on the left hand side getting hold of it.
There are four minutes of stoppage time.
The home fans are urging their team over the line, they can't afford to switch off for even a moment, otherwise this Bayern side are more than capable of capitalising. Cristiano is sat with his head nervously placed in his hands on the bench, despite all of his talent, he can only hope with the rest of the coaching staff and crowd now.
Plenty of white shirts are behind the ball now, with Benzema the furthest man forward but even he is within 40 yards of his own net. Bale breaks down the right hand side, gets to the byeline once again, but can only clip a cross into the side netting disappointingly.
Five minutes remain, with Guardiola on the edge of his technical area and gesturing like a man possessed. Bayern continue to push forward, with Real Madrid's defence getting deeper and deeper, just as it was in the early stages of the game.
GOTZE! WHAT A SAVE! Casillas hasn't had too many tough saves to make, but what a stop from the Spain international. How Gotze hasn't seen the net bulge there is quite astounding! From close-range, Casillas adjusts his hands fantastically to beat the former Dortmund forward's strike behind for a corner!
Good move from the hosts! Bale is released down the left hand side, working his way to the byeline before cutting back a half-decent cross. Dante is able to clear the delivery behind for a set piece, with Benzema lurking behind him at the back post.
MULLER! The substitute has Bayern's best chance of the second half, but Varane gets a very important touch to ensure that the Germany international forward's strike arrows wide of the near post. Ancelotti makes his final change, replacing Isco with Illarramendi.
Ten minutes stand between Real Madrid and a very impressive result, to keep a clean sheet against Bayern is no mean feat during the past couple of seasons. Ancelotti will have to fancy his side's chances of progressing into the final next week, if the scoreline remains as it is currently.
Almost a slice of luck for Los Blancos! Alonso tries a very ambitious effort from 35 yards, which strikes the ankle of Boateng on its way towards goal, sending Neuer the wrong way. Fortunately for the visitors, the deflection puts spin on the ball, ensuring that it doesn't have enough power to trickle into the opposite corner.
Around a quarter of an hour remaining for Real Madrid to hold out, with Guardiola becoming a very animated figure in the Bayern technical area. The former Barca coach has called Robben over for personal instructions and appears to be nearly driven to despair at the thought of defeat tonight.
Isco collects a loose ball on the left hand side, before looking to sidestep past Martinez, who stands firm. The former Malaga man appeals to the referee, but, Howard Webb tells him to get on with the game. A robust challenge from the former Athletic Bilbao midfielder, but a fair one nevertheless.
After returning from a hamstring injury tonight, Cristiano is replaced by Bale, with the Bernabeu giving their cup final hero a brilliant reception. A shuffle of both personnel, meaning that the next ten minutes might be game-defining as substitutes try and settle into the game. Muller also replaces Schweinsteiger.
Pepe has signalled for a change to be made, with young Frenchman Varane coming into the fray. Ribery is replaced by Mario Gotze for the away side, as Guardiola looks to freshen things up. Muller is also readying himself for Die Roten, as both coaches look to their benches.
Great punch by Casillas! The experienced shot-stopper rises excellently to deny Martinez the opportunity to nod a Lahm cross home from six yards! Both Pepe and Sergio Ramos have gone down awkwardly since, with the Portuguese perhaps needing to be replaced.
MODRIC! The former Spurs midfielder tries his luck from range, but the 25 yard strike is comfortably within Neuer's reach. Guardiola is getting a little bit frustrated on the sidelines, as Real Madrid's set-up continues to stand firmly in the way of the Bavarian steamroller.
Schweinsteiger receives the ball on the turn and looks to stab a first-time through ball into the path of Mandzukic, but the pass is terrible and rolls into Casillas' grasp. Real Madrid break upfield, with the quick move ending in a powerful Cristiano effort being palmed around the near post by Neuer!
Bayern certainly aren't having this game all their own way, with Javi Martinez being sent on for Rafinha, meaning that Lahm drops back into his more natural position of right-back. Los Blancos enjoyed a spell of a minute or so on the ball, something which we haven't seen all game.
Important interception from Boateng! The Germany international stops Benzema racing through one-on-one by jumping to divert a lofted pass into the path of Dante instead. The Brazilian defender clears up the scraps despite being pressurised by Benzema.
Benzema receives a bit of spray to his knee, as the Frenchman appears to be feeling a little bit worse for wear, but doesn't want to come off during such a huge game. Guardiola looks to ready some options on the bench, with the game still not quite going in Bayern's favour.
ROBBEN! The Real Madrid defence seems to part for the Dutchman, as both Coentrao and Ramos are too occupied with ensuring that the former Chelsea winger doesn't have an option to slip through on goal. He bounds to the edge of the box, but his eventual effort is tame and straight at Casillas.
Sergio Ramos is ordered away from arguing with the linesman on the far side, with the Spain international needing to be careful, as a yellow card would signal suspension next week. Isco fouls Robben yet again, with the former Malaga man perhaps needing to watch his step too.
KROOS! A clever free-kick routine from the away side, as Robben sets the ball rolling, allowing for Kroos to advance into a pocket of space on the edge of the penalty area and try his luck. He skews a terrible effort high and wide.
Yellow Card Isco
Gareth Bale starts to warm up on the sidelines, causing a real reaction from the home crowd, who clearly want to show their appreciation for his performance in the Copa del Rey final win. Guardiola would presumably not want to see the Welshman feature tonight, as his athleticism only adds more firepower to Real Madrid's counter-attacking options.
Pepe is once again alert to the danger of Ribery and covers across excellently behind Coentrao, with Los Blancos putting on something of a defensive masterclass tonight. They've been relentless with their pressing, making blocks and headed clearances whenever they've been necessary.
The home crowd are seemingly unhappy, as Carvajal goes to ground holding his face, after being caught by a stray arm from Alaba. The Austria international didn't appear to do it on purpose, but Webb is forced to stop the game briefly regardless. Bayern are in control after starting well after the break, but Real Madrid's defence remains solid.
Rafinha whips in an early cross from deep on the right flank, with the Brazilian's cross taking a slight touch off Cristiano's ankle. The ball loops towards goal, with Casillas having to palm it over his crossbar for the first corner of the second half.
Only one real tactical change from either coach at the start of the second period, as Ribery and Robben have swapped wings, with Guardiola looking for a slightly different offensive formula. The Dutchman was enjoying plenty of joy cutting in from the right and shooting on his preferred left foot - perhaps that is something his Spanish coach wanted to limit for a spell.
Pepe goes down heavily after challenging aerially with Robben, with the Brazil-born defender back to his feet after some running repairs from the hosts' physios. It was an awkward landing, with the Portugal international's ankle receiving some strapping, but he'll be fine to continue.
CRISTIANO! The former Man United forward forces Neuer into the first save of the second period, as the lanky shot-stopper sprawls across to his right and palms the Portuguese's effort away from danger. Plenty of power, but the angle didn't favour the Real Madrid man.
We are back underway in the second half! Plenty of unsavoury words have probably been said in the Bayern dressing room, as the visitors look to try and kick on from a first half where they lacked any kind of penetration.
Robben has predictably been the main threat for the away side, but Ancelotti's two banks of four remain resilient, as the system which was so successful against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey looks to conquer one of Europe's titans once again. Cristiano has had the odd snapshot, with the game's best chance of a second goal falling to an unmarked Angel di Maria, who couldn't capitalise at the back post despite being unmarked.
HALF TIME! Howard Webb calls time on an enthralling first 45 minutes, as Bayern have monopolised possession but have nothing to show for it. Casillas has only had routine saves to make, while Real Madrid lead 1-0 as an incisive breakaway was polished off by Karim Benzema.
45' + 1'
Cristiano has a left-footed attempt from 20 yards out, but Boateng makes the block to send the ball looping behind for a corner. Neuer rises brilliantly to punch the delivery away and that will signal the end of the action for now!
A solitary minute of stoppage time has been added on in the first half.
Great idea from Di Maria! Benzema and Di Maria exchange possession in a close-quarters situation on the edge of the 18-yard box, with the Argentine trying to release Cristiano on the right hand side via a clever backheel - but the Portuguese isn't on his wavelength. Isco, in plenty of space on the left, might have been a more pragmatic option.
Less than five minutes until the break and Real Madrid can't wait for Howard Webb's whistle to be blown to signal the end of a traumatic first half. Pepe decides to waste some time by rolling around after clashing with Kroos, but returns to his feet before the physios need to be called on. Convenient.
DI MARIA! WHAT A CHANCE! A cross is swung in from the right hand side, with Cristiano rising but failing to divert Benzema's delivery towards goal! It falls to Di Maria, unmarked at the back post, but the Argentina international balloons his half-volley way over the crossbar from close range! That could and possibly should have been 2-0!
LAHM! The Bayern captain receives an excellent pass from Rafinha, as Real Madrid fail to track the run of the central midfielder, but Lahm can only turn the well-weighted ball into the side netting from a tight angle.
Ribery receives a pass on the left hand side, but Carvajal makes up the ground excellently to dispossess his man and surrender another set piece opportunity. Moments earlier, Alonso made a great block to deny Robben from 12 yards.
Real Madrid's defence remains resilient, with another Ribery cross being headed away easily by Pepe. Guardiola's men are racking up plenty of corners, but haven't managed to threaten from them whatsoever, eventually leading to the Bundesliga champions going short instead.
Beautiful move from Bayern once again, but Sergio Ramos is the man to foil their intentions on this occasion. Ribery and Alaba exchange possession at the edge of the penalty area wonderfully, before the Frenchman's return pass into the centre of the box is hooked away by Ramos.
Less than ten minutes until the half time break and possession continues to be heavily in the favour of the away side. Robben drifts in from the right wing once again, before clipping an awful left-footed effort over the crossbar from 25 yards. Guardiola turns away in disgust, but Robben may have lost his footing.
Excellent move from Bayern, who build some momentum with a slick move from right to left. Alaba is presented the ball in an advanced area, but his cross isn't anywhere near to Mandzukic, allowing for Pepe to clear. Rafinha provides another delivery moments later from the opposite flank, but Mandzukic is once again bullied out of the aerial challenge.
ROBBEN! The Bayern danger man cuts in from the right yet again, but Pepe is able to make another block to deny the Dutchman. It heads behind, for yet another visiting corner, but Benzema heads the delivery away from danger at the near post.
Good defensive pressure from Pepe! Ribery switches the ball to the right flank beautifully, before Robben brings it down and swings in a cross from the byeline. Mandzukic rises, but Pepe is on hand to pressure his marker and ensure that his header doesn't head in Casillas' direction.
As we approach the half hour mark, Guardiola won't be too happy with what his side have managed to do thus far, as Casillas has been relatively unchallenged in the Real Madrid net. The away side's defence has been beaten for pace repeatedly, with Boateng and Dante in particular looking a little leggy against the hosts' electric forward line.
Bayern break, looking to emulate the incisiveness of their opponents, but Mandzukic's leaping header is cleared well. The Croatia international hasn't had too much luck so far, provided with plenty of aerial balls to challenge for, but never in dangerous areas.
CRISTIANO! WHAT A CHANCE! Modric sets the move in motion, sliding a delightful through ball in between Dante and Rafinha in search of Coentrao! The Portuguese gets on the end of it, before squaring a cross to his compatriot, but Cristiano skews the ball over the crossbar from 12 yards out!
Half chance for Dante, as the Brazilian meets a back post corner delivery well, but Casillas is on hand to leap up and claim the header before Mandzukic can make the most of the second ball. This game has a wonderful ebb and flow about it.
DI MARIA! It's another quick counter, as Xabi Alonso controls a loose pass deep in his own half, before releasing Benzema on the right flank. The former Lyon man drives forward before picking out Di Maria on the edge of the box, but the Argentine fails to test Neuer, firing straight at the Germany international.
Well the hosts' ability to break away has been highlighted ahead of this contest and it's already struck a decisive blow. A fantastic ball from Cristiano really set the move on its way, with Benzema at the right place at the right time to send the home fans into raptures. Nerves have been dispelled, with Los Blancos' faithful now buoyant once again!
CRISTIANO! Real Madrid's star man is picked out by an excellent cross from Carvajal, but can only divert the ball into the awaiting arms of Neuer with his head! Bayern might just be slightly rattled by that opening goal!
Assist Fabio Coentrao
Goal Karim Benzema
GOOOOOOOOAL! BENZEMA GIVES THE HOME SIDE AN UNLIKELY LEAD! It's a quick breakaway from the hosts and Bayern's players are left wondering what has just struck them! Ronaldo feeds Coentrao down the left hand side, before the Portuguese puts a chance on a plate at the back post for the France international to pass home!
A battle of minds more than anything else, at the moment, as the two managers' systems continue to not give each other any joy. The visitors have enjoyed more possession, but the majority has been held in safe areas. Mandzukic nods a back post header down for Kroos, but the midfielder's shot is blocked by Pepe!
Real Madrid are being constantly forced inside, with the combinations of Robben and Rafinha and Ribery and Alaba marshalling the hosts' wide options and not giving them any space to drive into. Benzema is fed through on goal, but the France international is stopped in his tracks by the linesman's flag. Another offside decision.
ROBBEN! The Dutchman has Casillas sprawling to his left hand side, but the winger's effort is always curling away from the target after taking a slight deflection off Sergio Ramos. Bayern are winning plenty of corners early on, with the latest being nodded straight at the hosts' goalkeeper by Schweinsteiger.
Bayern are being incredibly patient so far, not forcing any moves and not afraid to turn back towards their own goal and spray possession back to their split central defenders. Real Madrid are caged inside their own half, with few outlets to exploit when they do rarely win the ball back.
Mandzukic wins a header at the back post, turning Kroos' corner delivery into the centre of the penalty area, but Xabi Alonso is on hand to clear the ball before Dante can pounce on it. Bayern remain in total control.
The opening ten minutes have passed without any real incident, with both Casillas and Neuer enjoying the game as spectators. Robben has been keen to break down the right hand side at any given opportunity, against Real Madrid's possible weak link of Coentrao, with the Netherlands international getting a bit of joy.
Real Madrid are keen to try and press upfield and capitalise on any isolated players or poor touches, but haven't moved out of their own half as a unit thus far. Bayern are in control, as Ancelotti will have prepared for, but this Los Blancos side is fantastic on the break.
OFFSIDE! Robben is slipped through in between Coentrao and Sergio Ramos, but the Dutchman is caught fractionally ahead of play by the linesman. Had Ramos not stepped up slightly, the former Real Madrid man would have been clean through on goal!
KROOS! The first half chance of the game falls to the Germany international, but he can only scramble a tame effort into the midriff of Pepe. The Bundesliga outfit are seeing more of the ball, but thus far Los Blancos are keeping them at bay effectively.
Bayern are predictably holding onto the ball in the opening stages, with Ancelotti's side unwilling to give up any easy early chances. Given Die Roten's great form in the Allianz Arena, Real Madrid won't want to surrender too many away goals, in case they can't return the favour next week.
It appears that Real Madrid are actively trying to keep two banks of four, with Di Maria out on the right side of midfield and Isco on the left. Cristiano is playing just off the lone figure of Benzema, as the hosts look to keep it tight against Guardiola's intricate possession-based style.
We are underway in the first half! The expectation is nearly tangible in the Bernabeu, as the home fans clearly feel as though this season could be their chance to grab their elusive tenth European title. Howard Webb is our referee and he signals the start of proceedings!
There it is, the Champions League anthem rings out in the evening air and we're about to get underway! The home fans' choreography depicts plenty of Real Madrid legends, entitled 'Kings of Europe', they're certainly expecting big things tonight! The atmosphere is fantastic, deafening loud, this should be a real treat!
Well, as predicted, Pep Guardiola hasn't received the best reception at the Bernabeu! After managing their rivals Barcelona to league and cup success years ago, Los Blancos' fans aren't willing to forgive and forget. As Ancelotti chases La Decima, Real Madrid's tenth European title, dumping former Blaugrana man Guardiola out in the process would be an added bonus.
Less than ten minutes until kick-off, so be sure to stick around for all of the action, as Real Madrid look to take revenge at the Bernabeu for crashing out at this stage of the Champions League in the 2011/12 campaign. Bayern were their main rivals for the trophy then and tonight the same can be said again, with the Spanish media dubbing this match as the clash of the potential European champions.
Carlo Ancelotti, however, isn't so quick to believe that his side have a fantastic chance of progressing. The former Chelsea boss admitted that the German champions lack any real weakness, but joked that Bayern struggle to stop the ball when it's heading into the top corner of their net. If the imposing frame of Manuel Neuer has anything to do with tonight's game, he'll probably save a couple of those too.
The statistics are certainly with the home side tonight, as Real Madrid have only suffered two defeats at home to German opposition in European competitions in 26 games. Winning 20 of these, Pep Guardiola certainly has to see the best of his side tonight if they are to resign Los Blancos to their third. Lacklustre performances in the Bundesliga against Bavarian rivals Augsburg and second-placed Borussia Dortmund might just give the home support some belief ahead of this one.
Despite Carlo Ancelotti lining up with a presumable 4-3-3 formation this evening, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Italian coach's gameplan revolved around switching to a 4-4-2 when out of possession, leaving Benzema and Ronaldo alone up front to chase clearances down. This would leave Isco playing a more defensively responsible role, which he showed he was comfortable in during Los Blancos' narrow cup win against Barca recently.
Due to this semi-final being a two-legged affair, possible suspensions could have a huge effect on next week's return leg at the Allianz Arena. As it stands, Real Madrid have three players at risk of a ban should they pick up a yellow card tonight, with Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso and Asier Illarramendi walking the disciplinary tightrope. Tonight's visitors, however, have merely Mario Mandzukic in the same position.
Bayern substitutes: Raeder, Martinez, Pizarro, Gotze, Weiser, Muller, Zingerle.
Bayern starting line-up: Neuer; Rafinha, Boateng, Dante, Alaba; Lahm, Schweinsteiger; Robben, Kroos, Ribery; Mandzukic.
Real Madrid substitutes: Diego Lopez, Varane, Marcelo, Casemiro, Morata, Illarramendi, Bale.
Real Madrid starting line-up: Casillas; Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Coentrao; Modric, Alonso, Di Maria; Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo.
TEAM NEWS: Manuel Neuer and David Alaba both feature from the off after being rested at the weekend. Rafinha slots in at right-back, allowing for captain Philipp Lahm to be fielded in his newly-found position in the centre of the park. Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben will provide most of the penetration from the flanks, with Mario Mandzukic preferred to Thomas Muller or Mario Gotze up top, possibly due to the Croatia international's physical presence against the boisterous pairing of Sergio Ramos and Pepe.
TEAM NEWS: Iker Casillas is in between the posts for the home side, as cup competitions are the main source of first-team football nowadays for the experienced goalkeeper. Fabio Coentrao starts at left-back, with Marcelo only fit enough to come onto the substitutes bench. Cristiano Ronaldo is preferred to Copa del Rey hero Gareth Bale, with the Portuguese winger recovering from a hamstring problem in time for tonight's game. Isco retains his place in the side due to brilliant recent form.
Plenty of pedigree on both benches tonight, as Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti have won a European Cup as both a player and a coach. They are two of only six men to have done so, meaning that both teams are supported by plenty of experience and ideas from men who know exactly how to treat this sort of occasion. Spurred on by victory in their recent Copa del Rey final against Barcelona, Los Blancos just might fancy themselves to cause an upset tonight against the tournament favourites and reigning champions.
I'm Simon Harrison and I will be keeping you up to date with all of the action from the Bernabeu, as Real Madrid look to surpass Die Roten in European competition for the first time since the 2003/04 season. Zinedine Zidane was the man to net the winning goal for Los Blancos back then and he could have an effect on tonight's game too, with his experience providing an extra pool of knowledge in the role of Carlo Ancelotti's assistant manager.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of arguably the biggest game of the season so far, as Bayern travel to the Spanish capital to face Real Madrid in the first leg of their semi-final clashes with the La Liga outfit. The reigning Bundesliga champions aren't in fantastic form heading into this game, but coach Pep Guardiola has insisted that their focus on the Champions League trophy remains unaffected despite winning the German top flight in record time.
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