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AC Milan cruise into semis
April 12, 2007 02:40 IST
Coolly taken goals from Clarence Seedorf and Filippo Inzaghi saw AC Milan cruise to a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich and into the Champions League semi-finals on a 4-2 aggregate on Wednesday.
Milan, who will play Manchester United for a place in the final, edged ahead in the 27th minute when Kaka slipped a pass to Seedorf, who turned on the edge of the area and beat Oliver Kahn.
Champions League quarter-finals
The Italians took advantage of another slip four minutes later, as Seedorf's sublime back flick played in Inzaghi to score his 36th Champions League goal.
A ruthless display of finishing combined with equally mean defence will give Milan hope of avoiding the fate of AS Roma, who were destroyed 7-1 by United on Tuesday, and taking a place in the final for the third time in five seasons.
Bayern, the four-times European Cup winners, went into the return as slight favourites at a 66,000 sell-out Allianz Arena, after they had come from behind twice in Milan. But Milan maintained their dominance over the Germans and have now lost only once to them in 10 European meetings since they first met in 1968.
Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld was able to being back Kahn and Mark van Bommel, both suspended for the first leg, but injuries to Bastian Schweinsteiger and Willy Sagnol left the side weakened in midfield in defence.
Bayern at least started with a bit of imagination.
Massimo Oddo had to clear a Christian Lell shot off the line in the eighth minute and a couple of minutes later Lukas Podolski forced a sharp save from Dida after the German had controlled a flighted cross from Roy Makaay and swept goalwards.
Bayern soon ran out of ideas and a mistake gave Milan their first goal.
Podolski lost the ball out on the Bayern left and Kaka pounced on the chance to bring the ball into the middle, for once without being shadowed by Lucio, the Brazilian defender who gave an awesome personal display.
Seedorf took his pass, then took out Daniel van Buyten before sliding a shot between the Belgian's legs and into the opposite corner.
There was a feeling in the Milan side that they had let Bayern off the hook in the first leg. They did not repeat the mistake.
Seedorf's clever pass fooled the home defence and Inzaghi, who looked marginally offside from TV replays, helped himself against Kahn, lifting the ball past the keeper.
For Bayern, there was barely a suggestion of a comeback.
Perhaps if Podolski had managed to get a shot in after the ball dropped to him from a Mark van Bommel free kick at the end of the first half they might have had a chance.
Van Bommel and Owen Hargreaves tried their luck with long shots but it was Milan who came closest to another goal when Kaka showed rare skill to spin in the area and force a save from Kahn in the 66th minute.
Milan, the six times European Cup winners, became the first team to beat Bayern in a European game at the Allianz Arena. They now have the advantage of playing the second leg of their semi-final against Manchester United at home.
They are the only non-English side in the last four, after United were joined by Chelsea and Liverpool.
UEFA Champions League 2006-07: The Complete Coverage