Bayern Munich and Real Madrid trade blows to leave Champions League semi-final on a knife-edge

Bayern Munich and Real Madrid trade blows to leave Champions League semi-final on a knife-edge

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich played out a thrilling first leg of their Champions League semi-final, which stands all square ahead of a mouthwatering return game in the Spanish capital.

There were as many awful defensive errors as there were impeccably crafted goals in this 2-2 draw, broken open by Vinicius Jr’s first-half strike before a rapid turnaround engineered by Leroy Sane and Harry Kane. Vinicius then struck a late penalty to level up.

Bayern started the brighter team and Sane, fit along with the sparky Jamal Musiala after injury, tested Andriy Lunin with a low shot inside the first two minutes.

Kane’s audacious attempt from the halfway line joined further efforts from Musiala and Sane before Real managed any of their own but Carlo Ancelotti’s team kept a cool head to gently work their way back into proceedings.

Then came the telling moment of the first half in quintessential Madrid fashion. Toni Kroos directed play as Vinicius dragged Kim Min-jae out of position then crucified him for pace to latch onto the German’s pass and slot past Manuel Neuer.

It was Real’s first attempt of the game, just after the halfway point of the half, and from then on they played with greater composure to frustrate a Bayern side without answers to slow and patient play.

Sane stayed on the pitch during the half-time break to keep a pelvic injury, which was at risk of seizing up, warm and it paid dividends in the 53rd minute when he was swapped to the right flank and rocketed a shot through Lunin at the near post.

Suddenly, Madrid, so often the comeback kings on big European nights, were being given a taste of their own medicine but it was a sloppy error rather than a moment of magic which handed Bayern the chance to go ahead.

Lucas Vazquez, in at right-back for the suspended Dani Carvajal, dangled a lazy leg at Musiala in the box to concede a penalty which Kane duly dispatched to complete a rapid turnaround.

Bayern threatened another as Eric Dier rose highest to power a header straight at Lunin before an exact replica from a later corner saw his deflected effort fall kindly for the goalkeeper.

The extent to which Madrid’s night was not going to plan was underlined on 75 minutes when Ancelotti substituted Jude Bellingham for Brahim Diaz, in the search of an unlikely hero.

In the end, it came from an increasingly familiar source as Vinicius continued to torment Bayern centre-back Kim. Spinning the Korean for a very similar chance to his goal, but this time denied by Neuer, he soon played Rodrygo into the box before he was hauled down by Kim’s needless challenge.

Vinicius Jr grabbed the ball and slotted home the penalty to send the two teams to next week’s second leg on level terms.