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Bayern Munich rout Arsenal

Kevin Fylan in Munich | February 23, 2005 03:57 IST
Last Updated: February 23, 2005 09:44 IST


Champions League first knockout round, first leg:

  • Liverpool beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-0
  • Bayern Munich beat Arsenal 3-1
  • Real Madrid beat Juventus 1-0
  • PSV Eindhoven beat AS Monaco 1-0

Claudio Pizarro struck twice to lead Bayern Munich to a 3-1 win over Arsenal that put the Bavarians on course for the Champions League quarter-finals, despite the late Kolo Toure goal that gave the Londoners a lifeline in Munich, on Tuesday.

Pizarro took advantage of Toure's dreadful mistake to put Bayern into the lead in the fourth minute with a low volley and headed in a second, with a deflection off the hapless Toure, 13 minutes into the second half.

Hasan Salihamidzic made it 3-0 six minutes later when Jens Lehmann could only get a finger-tip to a Torsten Frings cross, leaving him unmarked to smack into an empty net.

Bayern were in complete control but were shocked a minute from time when Toure made up for his earlier mistakes by firing past Oliver Kahn, after Patrick Vieira's strike had come back off a post.

Arsenal, desperate to do well in the Champions League after falling way behind in the race for the English Premier League title, created virtually nothing else.

They scarcely deserved it, but Toure's late strike gives them a glimmer of hope of overturning the deficit at Highbury on March 9.

"At 3-0 it looked impossible for us to go through, but now we have a chance in two weeks, we only have to win 2-0 and we are through," said Lehmann.

THIN DEFENCE

Arsenal's poor defending could in part be explained by the absence of England defenders Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole from the starting line-up through injury and illness.

There could be no excuses for their complete lack of invention in midfield, with Thierry Henry and Jose Antonio Reyes seeing little of the ball and Kahn forced into just one save.

The game had been billed as a showdown between Kahn and Lehmann, rivals for the number one spot for the 2006 World Cup hosts.

Kahn got the better of the personal duel, but hardly in the way he would have imagined.

It was Kahn's long punt forward that led to Toure's mistake, the defender heading the ball straight up into the air instead of clear of danger.

It was his misfortune that Pizarro reacted in a flash to volley the ball low past Lehmann and give Bayern an early confidence boost.

After their bright start, Bayern found themselves unable to get the ball forward to Pizarro and Roy Makaay because of pressure from the aggressive Arsenal midfield and there were no further clear chances for the home side in the first half.

There were no chances for Arsenal either, just a series of hopeless balls forward for Henry to chase.

Arsenal continued to press at the start of the second half but they paid the price when Mehmet Scholl came off the bench to send a free kick straight to the head of Pizarro, and in off Toure, for the second goal.

Pizarro had a hand in the third, too, slipping a clever pass for Frings to cross from the left. Lehmann could only reach the delivery with his fingertips and the ball dropped nicely for Salihamidzic to rifle in.

Bayern really should have add to their tally as a shell-shocked Arsenal looked in danger of caving in completely.

It was to their credit that they created a brief flurry of chances at the end, culminating in the Toure goal that at least will have put a smile on his face at the end of an otherwise disheartening night.


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