Behind Vinícius Jr. brace, Real Madrid earns crucial draw against Bayern Munich in Champions League semifinal

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti says the Santiago Bernabéu stadium could hold the secret to reaching the Champions League final this season, after Los Blancos drew 2-2 against Bayern Munich in the semifinal first leg on Tuesday.

The result in Germany means the tie is perfectly poised going into the return leg in Spain on May 8, and Ancelotti hopes the home support can help his team get over the line.

“We didn’t see the best Real Madrid today,” he told reporters after the game. “Let’s hope we see it in the second leg.

“It’s going to be tough because we’re playing against a great team and the tie is evenly balanced, but the fans are going to help us in the second leg for sure.”

After taking the lead through Vinícius Jr.’s first half strike, Madrid found itself 2-1 down courtesy of Bayern’s Leroy Sané and a Harry Kane penalty.

But as it has done in this competition over the years, the Spanish giant found a way to get back into the game and Vinícius netted a late penalty to bring the tie level.

“It’s never easy and we have to keep calm and rest until the next game,” player of the match Vinícius told reporters. “We know that we and the fans are going to give our all in the next game at the Bernabéu.”

Harry Kane scores a penalty to give Bayern Munich the lead in the game. - Angelika Warmuth/Reuters
Harry Kane scores a penalty to give Bayern Munich the lead in the game. - Angelika Warmuth/Reuters

The semifinal first leg certainly lived up to expectations, with both sides producing some brilliant attacking moments.

Madrid’s opening goal in the 24th minute was one of pure quality, from both goalscorer Vinícius and midfielder Toni Kroos who made the assist.

It started with the Brazilian forward’s brilliant movement, sucking defender Kim Min-jae toward the ball before spinning into the space behind.

It was a run that needed a perfect pass and Kroos duly obliged, finding his teammate’s run with pinpoint accuracy which allowed Vinícius to fire Madrid into the lead.

Bayern, cheered by the ever-passionate Allianz Arena, roared back in the second half and equalized through a moment of solo brilliance from Sané in the 53rd minute.

The German picked the ball up on the wing before driving at his defender and creating a yard of space for himself in the box. The attacker then fired a rocket of a shot into the bottom corner of the net, leaving Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin with no chance.

With momentum on its side, Bayern quickly established a lead four minutes later after Jamal Musiala was clumsily brought down in the box by Lucas Vázquez, playing for the suspended Dani Carvajal.

Kane stepped up and dispatched the spot kick with ease, running to the corner and performing his trademark celebration.

Los Merengues, though, found a way back into the match with a penalty of their own after Kim made a second huge defensive blunder, bringing Rodrygo down in the box.

Vinícius stepped up and dispatched the penalty in the 83rd minute, celebrating his second goal with Madrid’s traveling fans.

Vinícius tied the scores at 2-2 with a late penalty in the second half. - Alex Pantling/Getty Images
Vinícius tied the scores at 2-2 with a late penalty in the second half. - Alex Pantling/Getty Images

While Madrid will be happy with the result, there were concerns over star player Jude Bellingham who came off in the second half.

The Englishman, who has arguably been the best player in the world this season, looked off the pace at times, but manager Ancelotti said the 20-year-old will be ready for the return fixture.

“He’ll be back to his best. He had the injury, which affected him considerably,” he said. “He hasn’t been at his best, but he’ll be back very soon, and by Wednesday, he’ll be at 100%.”

After losing out on the Bundesliga title to Bayer Leverkusen this season, Bayern Munich can just concentrate on the Champions League – perhaps needing the trophy to help save a disappointing season.

“Now, the winner at the Bernabéu takes it all,” Kane said after the game.

“These are the games you want to be involved in. We can take a lot of positives from tonight.

“We caused Real a lot of problems, especially in the second half. We weren’t efficient enough. We’re ready for an amazing game next week. I’m looking forward to it.”

Whichever team wins the return leg will face either Borussia Dortmund or Paris Saint-Germain in the final which will be played at Wembley Stadium on June 1.

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