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Benzema helps Madrid win 1-0 over Bayern

MADRID -- Karim Benzema's goal gave Real Madrid a 1-0 first-leg victory over title holder Bayern Munich on Wednesday, but the nine-time champions may live to regret the missed chances in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal.

Madrid endured plenty of pressure in the first leg match, but scored from a 19th-minute counter-attack. Cristiano Ronaldo found Fabio Coentrao speeding down the left flank and Benzema steered his low cross past goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Ronaldo returned from a left leg injury but missed a number of scoring opportunities before eventually giving way to Gareth Bale, who had started on the bench after battling the flu.

Bayern pressed for an equalizer in the closing stages, forcing Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas to deny Mario Goetze in the 84th minute while fellow substitute Thomas Mueller had no better luck with his late effort from inside the area.

But Madrid should have extended its lead ahead of Tuesday's return leg in Germany, as the team bids to end a three-season semifinal losing streak and reach the final for the first time since winning in 2002.

“If you want to do damage, you have to go for the victory — because 1-0 is not definitive,” Madrid defender Sergio Ramos said as he looked ahead to a tough second leg match. “But it's a good result to take to Munich.”

Atletico Madrid or Chelsea await in the May 24 final in Lisbon, with the pair playing to a scoreless draw in their first-leg match on Tuesday.

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Real's Cristiano Ronaldo goes for a header next to Bayern's Dante, right, during a first leg semifinal Champions League soccer match between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain on Wednesday, April 23. Real Madrid won 1-0. (AP)

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