MADRID, April 23 (Xinhua) -- A solitary goal from Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema gave his side a slender 1-0 win at home over Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final match.
Benzema was on hand to finish off a counter attack which decided a fascinating and at times exciting game in which Bayern controlled the ball against a rival who were fast and vertical in attack.
As expected Cristiano Ronaldo was in the Real Madrid starting 11 while Isco also took his place in the side in place of Gareth Bale.
The game kicked off with Bayern imposing a suffocating pressure on Real Madrid in all areas of the pitch and the home side hardly saw the ball in the opening minutes.
However, after an Arjen Robben's shot went just wide after 12 minutes Benzema took advantage of Real Madrid's first chance to score the only goal of the game as Madrid caught Bayern on the break and he was able to head home a cross from Fabio Coentrao.
That goal saw Real Madrid look time and again to progress down the Bayern right flank with both Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria trying their fortune against Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer.
Bayern had controlled 73 percent of possession in the first 45 minutes, but Madrid looked increasingly dangerous on the break as the half progressed and Ronaldo had the first chance of the second half as Neuer detained his shot.
The German dominance of the ball continued, but Real Madrid were solid in defense and midfield and Ronaldo again tested Neuer with 20 minutes remaining.
Gareth Bale, who began the game on the bench as the result of suffering a dose of flu, replaced Ronaldo with 18 minutes remaining, while there was bad news for Madrid when Pepe had to limp out of the game with what looked like a muscle injury.
The end of the game was a frantic affair as Iker Casillas produced a flying save to deny Mario Gotze, while Bale hit a shot into the side netting.
Bayern asked for a penalty after Thomas Muller went over in the Madrid area under pressure from Xabi Alonso, but referee Howard Webb was having none of it and the final result leaves everything to play for next week in Germany.