A late goal from Yossi Benayoun earned Liverpool an invaluable 1-0 win over Real Madrid in the first-leg of their last-16 Champions League clash at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night.
Both teams looked to feel each other out in the opening 25 minutes, but a lapse in the Madrid defense allowed Fernando Torres to test Iker Casillas, but the goalkeeper showed all of his athleticism to keep out the striker’s rasping drive.
Xabi Alonso almost scored an absolutely stunning goal in the closing moments of the first-half as the Spaniard saw Casillas well off his line and from inside his own half looked to float an audacious ball over the keeper, but the shot-stopper back-pedaled furiously to just touch the ball over the crossbar.
Rafael Benitez’s men began pressing hard for the opener, but a fantastic spell of passing and pressure ended without any result as Yossi Benayoun over-hit his pass to Albert Riera forcing the winger too wide, and his cross-come-shot is easily dealt with by the Madrid defence.
The Galacticos best chance for a goal came 20 minutes from the end as Arjen Robben bobbed and weaved his way towards the Chelsea goal, and his rasping effort brought the best out of Cech who haphazardly tipped the ball over the crossbar and out to safety.
But with just eight minutes remaining in the game and Liverpool were in the lead as Fabio Aurelio sent over a fizzing free-kick, and Benayoun rose unchallenged before powerfully heading past a flapping Casillas.
The second-leg takes place at Anfield in 13 day’s time.