Real Madrid's Spanish midfielder Marco Asensio (C) celebrates with Cristiano Ronaldo (L) and Toni Kroos after scoring a goal
Real Madrid's Spanish midfielder Marco Asensio (C) celebrates with Cristiano Ronaldo (L) and Toni Kroos after scoring a goal

Zidane master stroke gives Real edge in strange semi

BAYERN Munich face an uphill task to progress to the Champions League final after Real Madrid snatched a 2-1 win on their semi-final first leg trip to Allianz Arena.

The Germans started brightest and found the opener through Joshua Kimmich just prior to the half-hour mark, but their lead was erased minutes before the halftime whistle as Marcelo rifled a classy half volley passed Sven Ulreich.

A halftime substitution by Real boss Zinedine Zidane proved a master stroke, as Marco Asensio - who had replaced Isco - struck what was eventually the winning goal.

Bayern Munich's German defender Jerome Boateng (C) walks off the pitch after getting injured
Bayern Munich's German defender Jerome Boateng (C) walks off the pitch after getting injured

After the game, beIN Sports commentators suggested the match "didn't feel like a semi-final" but praised Real for a "perfect" tactical game.

A calamitous error from Bayern, for which goal scorer Kimmich and Rafinha were at joint fault, handed the visitors a juicy two-on-one counter attack opportunity of which the substitute was the beneficiary.

Lucas Vazquez pounced on a loose pass from the German right back, before driving hard and unleashing Asensio one-on-one with Ulreich, with the Spanish young gun making no mistake in firing hard into the net.

Two crucial away goals for Real mean Bayern will now need to strike at least twice at the Bernabeu in the return leg of the tie next week - no easy feat, although Juventus showed a fortnight ago that the Spaniards are far from infallible on their own patch.

Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski reacts after missing a goal opportunity
Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski reacts after missing a goal opportunity

In the build-up to the match, talk centred around the goal scoring duel between Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski.

However, the prolific pair failed to make any real impact on proceedings, with the former's brightest moment coming after he was penalised for a hand ball. Ronaldo controlled the ball with his arm, as spotted by the referee, before rifling a beautiful dipping volley into the far corner ... pity it didn't count.

While the Polish frontman provided some quality link-up play throughout, he failed to manufacture any real space or scoring opportunities as his side fell behind.

Bayern dominated the opening 45 minutes, holding more possession and boasting far more quality going forward but were hindered by injuries to star pair Arjen Robben and Jerome Boateng - who were both forced off in the opening half.

Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane gestures to his players
Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane gestures to his players

Thomas Muller and Franck Ribery did their best to create opportunities for Jupp Heynckes' side and the Frenchman should have scored with a gilt-edged chance in the first half. The winger was through one-on-one but over thought his effort, taking a heavy touch and allowing Navas to claim the ball.

The Real defence held resolute after the Kimmich opener, for which keeper Keylor Navas was perhaps at fault, despite a range of decent chances falling Bayern's way.

It was a crafty finish from the full back, but the Costa Rican gloveman will lament the fact that he was beaten at his near post.

Muller went close midway through the second half, but was impeded by Lewandowski in his attempts to bundle the ball home from close range.

Bayern's Joshua Kimmich, left, celebrates his side's opening goal with team mate James
Bayern's Joshua Kimmich, left, celebrates his side's opening goal with team mate James

Real weren't at their best, and did look to be under the pump defensively at times, but Bayern lacked the killer blow and will blame their profligacy in front of goal for what could prove a costly home loss.

And so, despite no flourish from Ronaldo - who now loses his record of scoring in each of Real's Champions League games this season - Zidane's Real will carry a 2-1 aggregate advantage into their home leg next week.

You'd be brave to bet against the La Liga giants going on to a third straight final, with the back-to-back defending champions clearly eyeing their third consecutive crown - with Roma or, more likely, Liverpool in their sights.

 

 

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Madrid's Marco Asensio celebrates after scoring his side's second goal
Madrid's Marco Asensio celebrates after scoring his side's second goal
Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo (L) shoots to score
Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo (L) shoots to score
Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after his goal was disallowed
Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after his goal was disallowed
Real Madrid's Casemiro, left, and Bayern's James
Real Madrid's Casemiro, left, and Bayern's James
Bayern Munich's German defender Jerome Boateng (C) walks off the pitch after getting injured
Bayern Munich's German defender Jerome Boateng (C) walks off the pitch after getting injured


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