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Madrid holds off Bayern to win first leg

Madrid, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - A first-half goal from Karim Benzema handed Real Madrid a 1-0 win over Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Madrid was the better side in the first half and took the lead after 19 minutes through Karim Benzema before squandering a pair of good chances prior to halftime.

Bayern had more possession in the second half but was largely ineffective until the final 10 minutes, when the Bavarians generated a pair of chances that went unconverted.

Cristiano Ronaldo had a hand in the goal when he played a ball down the left wing for Fabio Coentrao, who drove a low cross through the face of goal for Benzema to tap in from a few yards.

The hosts continued to press their advantage and Ronaldo should have added a second goal in the 26th minute when his first-time shot flew over the net from 12 yards with only goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to beat.

Angel Di Maria also had a great look at goal in the opening 45 minutes when he arrived at the back post with a clear sight of goal from eight yards, only to smash the ball over the goal.

Madrid wasn't quite as eager to get forward after the break, and Bayern had much of the possession.

But it wasn't until the last 10 minutes that the visitors really threatened with Thomas Muller sending a shot wide of the left post from the top of the box after it took a slight deflection.

The best opportunity for Bayern came in the 84th when a turnover by Madrid in its own penalty area handed Mario Gotze a shot from point-blank range that was kept out by a nice stop from goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

The return leg will take place in Munich on April 29.