Friday, February 27, 2015   

(Champions League) Benzema leads Madrid past Bayern
(04-24 14:59)

A goal from Karim Benzema gave Real Madrid a 1-0 victory over title holder Bayern Munich on Wednesday and a slender advantage in their Champions League semifinal.
Madrid endured plenty of pressure in the first leg match, but scored from a 19th-minute counter-attack when Cristiano Ronaldo found Fabio Coentrao speeding down left to cross into the box for Benzema to tap beyond goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Ronaldo returned from a left leg injury but missed a number of scoring opportunities, eventually giving way to Gareth Bale who started on the bench after battling with `flu.
Bayern pressed for an equalizer in the closing stages, forcing Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas to deny Mario Goetze in the 84th minute while fellow substitute Thomas Mueller had no better luck with his late effort from inside the area.
Nine-time champion Madrid will rue a number of missed opportunities to extend its lead going into Tuesday's return leg in Germany. Madrid is bidding to end a three-season semifinal losing streak and reach the final for the first time since winning in 2002. --AP   
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