This week saw the conclusion of the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals. On Tuesday April 24, Liverpool pulled off a convincing 5-2 victory over Roma. The following day, Real Madrid narrowly edged past Bayern 2-1 and is now a match away from makings its third straight Champions League final.
Bayern kept Madrid on its heels, however, and appeared to dominate despite early exits from Arjen Robben and Jerome Boateng due to injury. Bayern threatened early, and the team’s persistence led to the game’s first goal. After 25 seconds, Robert Lewandowski had an opportunity inside the six-yard box but sent in a cross that sailed passed the mouth of the goal. Bayern got its first break after Joshua Kimmich slid the ball from a tough angle past Madrid’s goalkeeper who was perhaps anticipating a cross to Lewandowski running up the middle, the Guardian reports. Bayern nearly struck again immediately after the ensuing kickoff, except Franck Ribery took an errant touch off of a pass from Thiago Alcantara. Such missed opportunities would come to defy Bayern Munich in this match.
While Bayern dominated possession and created better opportunities for themselves, Madrid was able to capitalize off of Bayern’s mistakes. Five minutes before the first half, Madrid evened the score after a Bayern defensive miscue. Ramos sent a diagonal chip to Carvajal on the wing who headed it back towards the top of the Bayern’s 18. Ronaldo wound up for an overhead kick but pulled back, and the ball took a bounce in front of the defense before Javi Martinez hit a one-touch shot into the bottom corner.
In the second half, Madrid added another goal. This time, Bayern’s Rafinha made and errant pass near midfield. Marco Asensio, who had been subbed in, intercepted the pass and lead a counterattack. He slotted a pass to Lucas Vazquez and both players ran up the field with only a single defender and the goalkeeper to beat. Vazquez soon passed the ball back to Asensio who placed the ball into the corner.
Madrid was able to defend its lead in the closing minutes. Bayern ended up with 13 shots, eight of which were on target. In extra time, Bayern’s Corentin Tolisso had one last opportunity to finish off a cross but the ball hit the ground and bounced over his head.
The second leg of the semi-finals will take place next week. Real Madrid and Bayern will play on Tuesday, May 1 while Liverpool and Roma will play on the following day.