Madrid, Spain (4E Sports) – A first-half goal by Karim Benzema carried Real Madrid to a 1-0 win over Bayern Munich and closer to its first Champions League final in 12 years.
Benzema scored his fifth goal in the tournament in the 19th minute to give Real Madrid a slim margin when it heads to Germany for next Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg.
“I’m happy with everything, because the match was difficult. We played well, suffering sometimes and playing well in attack. Overall, I’m happy with my team,” said Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.
“In the beginning we were a little shy, losing possession at the start and dropping deep. In the second half, Bayern were less effective. The work we did was fundamental,” he added.
Ancelotti’s side notched the win despite the absence of Gareth Bale, who missed the game with the flu, and with Cristiano Ronaldo at 50 percent after returning from a four-game absence with a hamstring injury.
Ancelotti expects his team to play with the same confidence and desire in Munich.
The visitors dominated possession but were unable to break down a sturdy Madrid side, which looked far more dangerous than the Germans when they attacked.
However, Real failed to add to Benzema’s tally after misses by Ronaldo and Angel De Maria.
Josep Guardiola’s side enjoyed 85 percent of possession in the opening 20 minutes but failed to capitalize on the advantage as Madrid limited its opponents to a shot by Arjen Robben that was deflected wide, and a soft effort by Bastian Schweinsteiger which Iker Casillas saved comfortably.
“We wanted to have a lot of possession and have a quick transition from defense to attack. We controlled the game, but Madrid was waiting to counterattack and they have the players to take advantage of this,” Guardiola said.