Reuters, Wednesday, February 21, 2007 3:52 PM
For the first 60 minutes against Bayern Munich on Tuesday, Real Madrid looked as good as it ever did in the last five years. Up 3-1 at halftime thanks to goals from Raul and Ruud van Nistelrooy and an
inspired performance in midfield from David Beckham, Real looked to be cruising. Indeed, a fourth looked on the cards early in the second half as a superb 25-yard free kick from Beckham was turned
over the bar by an acrobatic save from Oliver Kahn.
However, as Fabio Capello lamented, the next 30 minutes were not so good. Had the Merengues not given up a second goal in the dying minutes
of the game, Real could have gone into the return leg in Munich confident of advancing to the quarterfinals. "It was like when a tennis player's arm seizes up, we got tense," the Real coach said.
"They pressed us very hard in the second half and made three substitutions with fresh players, but it was more to do with fear than anything else."
Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, who took
charge of the team last month, conceded that the team's second half performance was grounds for optimism for the return leg at the Allianz Arena on March 7. "I was very pleased with the way we played
after the break though. We created more chances and it was only a question of time before we got a second goal," he said. "The result will be good for morale." A 1-0 or 2-1 victory would see the
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