Efficient Real Madrid making an art form of scoring when least expected

Tue, Apr 30, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Efficient Real Madrid making an art form of scoring when least expected

MUNICH (AP) - Real Madrid has made an art form of striking when least expected.

Bayern Munich was so dominant in the Champions League semifinal on Tuesday that it seemed only a matter of time before it scored. But Madrid pounced instead.

Vinicius Junior ran onto a brilliant Toni Kroos pass and fired the visitors ahead in the 24th minute with their first chance.

"I know that Vini prefers the ball in space than at his feet," Kroos said. "Then he makes his move. He makes the pass easy for me with his run."

Madrid's knack for scoring goals out of nothing is a trait that plays on rivals' minds as Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka acknowledged after the teams' 2-2 draw.

"We let Vinicius out our eye for a bit and then there was a huge hole," Goretzka said. "There wasn't the feeling that something dangerous could happen but that's the quality of Real and you need to be ready for it all the time."

Bayern dominated possession and goal attempts (14-8) but the two-leg series remains wide open ahead of the return semifinal match in Madrid next week.

"We had that last season too against Paris with Neymar and (Kylian) Mbappe, they're just players with unbelievable quality," Goretzka said. "It's extremely dangerous when they're up front. You always have to have a top defense and of course you can't march forward blindly, no question."

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Madrid should arguably have gone on to score more after Vinicius opened the scoring as Bayern's confidence took a blow and the home team no longer dominated.

Manuel Neuer made a fine save to deny Kroos and Madrid was in the ascendancy when Leroy Sane equalized with a fierce strike inside the right post and Harry Kane converted a penalty for Bayern.

Vinicius scored again after coolly converting a late penalty to level the match.

"Real Madrid always makes moves," Vinicius said. "Now we have to be concentrated for the 90 minutes, or 120 if needed, at the Bernabeu."

The winner will play Borussia Dortmund or Paris Saint-Germain in the final in London on June 1. Dortmund and PSG were to play the first leg of their semifinal in Dortmund on Wednesday.

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CIARAN FAHEY Fahey is a Berlin-based reporter for The Associated Press, covering sports in Germany and beyond. twitter instagram mailto "
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