Vinicius leads Real Madrid to claim a precious Champions League draw at Bayern

AP , Wednesday 1 May 2024

Vinícius Júnior scored twice for Real Madrid to draw 2-2 at Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal on Tuesday.

Vinicius junior
Real Madrid s Brazilian forward #07 Vinicius Junior celebrates scoring a penalty during the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg football match between FC Bayern Munich and Real Madrid CF on April 30, 2024 in Munich, southern Germany. (Photo: AFP)


Bayern dominated, but Madrid survived, and the tie is still wide open ahead of the second leg in Madrid on May 8.

With the focus on England stars Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham, as well as Toni Kroos’ return to his former team, Vinícius emerged as the decisive figure on a night when his bright green boots were often a blur.

The Brazil forward opened the scoring against the run of play in the 24th minute and equalized with a coolly taken penalty in the 83rd after Leroy Sané and Kane had scored for Bayern.

Kane’s goal, another penalty, was the England forward’s 43rd goal in 43 games for Bayern this season.

The winners of the two-leg semifinal will play either Borussia Dortmund or Paris Saint-Germain in the final in London on June 1.

Bayern totally dominated the opening stages. Sané had an effort saved by Andriy Lunin in the first minute and the hosts went on to miss a slew of chances.

Nearly 20 minutes elapsed before Madrid enjoyed a period with the ball.

Then Kroos spotted Vinícius’ run and played a perfect through ball for the Brazilian to sweep the visitors’ first real chance past Manuel Neuer in the Bayern goal.

Bayern lost its early zest as the visitors saw more of the ball. Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel gesticulated wildly at his players to push forward, then threw his arms up in exasperation.

Kane went closest with a free kick before the break, awarded for a foul by Nacho on Jamal Musiala, who gingerly rubbed his bandaged left leg. The Germany forward had only just recovered from a knee problem.

Sané equalized in the 53rd when he ran at the Madrid defense and cut inside Ferland Mendy before firing a fierce strike just inside the near post.

Kane made it 2-1 four minutes later with a penalty awarded after Lucas Vázquez bundled over Musiala.

But it wasn’t the last penalty as Kim Min-jae brought down Rodrygo. Vinícius duly equalized from the spot.

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