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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Bayern 2 – 1 Real Madrid

Mario Gomez ensured Bayern carry a slim advantage to the Bernabeu next week, with the winning goal in the last minute of the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.

Gomez, who had wasted a string of chances throughout the night, tapped in after the terrific Phillip Lahm advanced on the Madrid goal, and sent a teasing ball across the six yard box.

It was nothing more than what Bayern deserved after a purely industrial performance, which left the formidable Madrid triumvirate of Ronaldo, Benzema and Ozil feeding on scraps for most of the match.

After a cagey opening, the impetus seemed to be with the Spanish club – with the defensive partnership of Khedira and Xabi Alonso dealing with forays from the Germans; and the latter spraying inviting balls for the Real attackers to gather up.

It was against the run of play then, that Bayern grabbed the opener. In the 17th minute, after Gomez had stung the hands of Casillas in the Real goal, the resulting corner found its way to Franck Ribery via some static Madrid defending – who gleefully smashed home from close range. The Allianz Arena erupted, engulfing the three thousand travelling Real fans in a cacophony of celebration –it was the first time Madrid had gone behind in a Champions league game this season.

Madrid, it seemed, had no response to Bayern’s solid defensive setup – as the Germans reached half time a goal to the good.

But Real raced out of the blocks come the second half, and Bayern found themselves pegged back just five minutes after the restart. Ronaldo broke clear down the left, and after sending a tame effort into the mid-drift of Manuel Neuer, Benzema’s cross-shot found its way onto the boot of Ozil, and the returning German wheeled away in ecstasy as the ball trickled into the net.

With a crucial away goal in the bag, Jose Mourinho’s team pushed forward smelling blood, sending on the fresh Higuain in an attempt to force through the second goal, and kill the tie – leaving Gomez to steal the show at the death, setting the tie up perfectly for the second leg in Spain.

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