Madrid: Real Madrid took a step closer to an elusive 10th European Cup with a 1-0 home win over Bayern Munich on Wednesday and the Spanish side will hope to finish off the job in Germany having shown how effective they are on the counter-attack.
“I don’t like the other team having the ball but obviously you can’t have it all the time and Bayern have a clear philosophy. Now, the second leg will be difficult. We have to play with confidence and be motivated. Anything can still happen in Munich.”
Even though Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale were only half-fit, Real terrorised the German champions’ backline with their surging runs. The duo should be in prime condition for next week’s return leg at the Allianz Arena, where Real will hope to enjoy more success on the counter-attack and book a first final appearance for 12 years.
“It wasn’t a case of him (Ronaldo) holding back, but he wasn’t 100 per cent. He did few full-out sprints but for us the most important thing was that he played. He worked hard to be there and we are happy,” Real coach Carlo Ancelotti told reporters after the win at the Bernabeu.
Ronaldo had not played since the beginning of April due to knee and hamstring problems and the Italian took him off for the final 20 minutes, replacing him with Bale, who had been suffering from cold all week. “The substitution was a decision that we took before the game as the injury risk was higher after an hour of the game because the muscles would be tired,” he added.
“It worked out fine and it was normal that after 20 days out you are not 100 per cent fit. But he gave his all and will be better next Tuesday, as will Bale. We had clear chances because this team is formidable on the break. It is normal that against Bayern you counter-attack more and to do that you have to defend well,” Ancelotti said.