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Vinícius Júnior leads Real Madrid to 2-2 draw at Bayern Munich in Champions League semifinal

Wednesday -30, April 2024 {HMC} MUNICH (AP) — Vinícius Júnior scored twice for Real Madrid to draw 2-2 at Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal on Tuesday.

Bayern dominated but Madrid survived, and the contest is still wide open ahead of the return leg in Madrid on May 8.

With the focus on England stars Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham, as well as Toni Kroos’ return to his former team, Vinícius emerged as the decisive figure on a night when his bright green boots were often a blur.

The Brazil forward opened the scoring against the run of play in the 24th minute and equalized with a coolly taken penalty in the 83rd after Leroy Sané and Kane had scored for Bayern.

“I think it’s a good result,” said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, who led Bayern to the Bundesliga title in 2017. “It gives us faith and confidence for the second leg. It’s completely open.”

Kane’s goal, another penalty, was the England forward’s 43rd goal in 43 games for Bayern this season.

“It felt like the goals were scored when the other team was better,” Kroos said. “We’re pretty sure that we’ll advance at home.”

Bayern had appealed to fans to wear red to the game and the visitors must have felt they were playing in a red cauldron as they were greeted by deafening whistles from the majority of the 75,000 in the stadium.

Fans in the “Südkurve” paid respect to deceased club great Franz Beckenbauer with a huge red-and-white choreography before kickoff. A giant banner sent a message to the players as they were warming up: “To honor the Kaiser Franz, give everything to reach the final!”

The winners of the two-leg semifinal will play either Borussia Dortmund or Paris Saint-Germain in the final in London on June 1.

“Real Madrid does this to teams, so we should not be too disappointed,” Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel said. “I think we will be able to create chances in the Bernabéu. This is one of the most difficult places to win, yes, but it’s a challenge. That’s the beauty of it.”

Bayern totally dominated the opening stages on Tuesday. Sané had an effort saved by Andriy Lunin in the first minute and the hosts went on to miss a slew of chances.

“We didn’t have enough intensity, especially in the first half,” Ancelotti said.

Nearly 20 minutes elapsed before Madrid enjoyed a period with the ball.

Then Kroos spotted Vinícius’ run and played a perfect through ball for the Brazilian to sweep the visitors’ first real chance past Manuel Neuer in the Bayern goal.

Bayern lost its early zest as the visitors saw more of the ball. Tuchel gesticulated wildly at his players to push forward, then threw his arms up in exasperation.

Kane went closest with a free kick before the break, awarded for a foul by Nacho on Jamal Musiala, who gingerly rubbed his bandaged left leg. The Germany forward had only just recovered from a knee problem.

Sané equalized in the 53rd when he ran at the Madrid defense and cut inside Ferland Mendy before firing a fierce strike just inside the near post.

Kane made it 2-1 four minutes later with a penalty awarded after Lucas Vázquez bundled over Musiala.

But it wasn’t the last penalty as Kim Min-jae — who was beaten on Vinícius’ first goal —brought down Rodrygo. Vinícius duly equalized from the spot.

“It was a back-and-forth game,” Bayern midfielder Konrad Laimer said. “But yeah, it’s Real Madrid, you can’t let anything happen against this team.”

SOURCE
BY CIARÁN FAHEY

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