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Rediff.com  » Sports » Champions League PHOTOS: Bayern overpower 10-Man Arsenal; Atletico grab late win

Champions League PHOTOS: Bayern overpower 10-Man Arsenal; Atletico grab late win

February 20, 2014 10:15 IST

Champions League PHOTOS: Bayern overpower 10-Man Arsenal

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Holders Bayern Munich survived an early battering to beat 10-man Arsenal 2-0 on a night of high drama in the Champions League on Wednesday as both teams missed penalties and home goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was sent off.

A year to the day after the Germans beat Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium in their last-16 first leg tie, Bayern handed out another beating to Arsene Wenger's men at the same stage of the competition.

Second-half goals from the outstanding Toni Kroos, who curled in a right-foot shot, and substitute Thomas Mueller put the champions a giant step closer to the quarter-finals.

Earlier, Arsenal's Mesut Ozil missed an eighth-minute penalty and David Alaba did the same for Bayern 32 minutes later after Szczesny was dismissed by Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli for clattering Arjen Robben in the area.


Image: Toni Kroos of Bayern Muenchen celebrates scoring the opening goal with teammate Dante during their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium in London on Wednesday
Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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'I think our keeper went in for the ball, he touched Robben who made more of it'

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Bayern's victory came 24 hours after Barcelona inflicted a 2-0 home defeat on ManchesterCity, making it unlikely that two of England's dominant clubs will advance much further this season.

Arsenal, like City on Tuesday, ended the match with 10 men but unlike their Premier League rivals they took the game to their opponents and, certainly until Szczesny's sending-off, gave as good as they got.

"The referee made a decision that basically killed the game," Wenger said.

"I think our keeper went in for the ball, he touched Robben who made more of it (than he should) and I told Robben that.

"It isn't over because we will fight until the end. Last year we lost here and won there and we have to try and do that again."


Image: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger appeals to Bayern's Arjen Robben after the foul that saw Gunners' keeper Szczesny sent off on Wednesday
Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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Arsenal's early dominance failed to produce a goal

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Pep Guardiola, who took over from Jupp Heynckes as Bayern coach in the close season, said his team were somewhat fortunate.

"We were lucky," said the Spaniard. "Our keeper Manuel Neuer, the best in the world, showed his qualities.

"After that we played better and started dominating the game and in the end we deserved to win it."

Arsenal, mindful that Bayern virtually had last year's tie won inside the first 20 minutes, ripped into their opponents from the start but their early dominance failed to produce a goal.

The London club's attacking opening should have brought them the lead when Rizzoli awarded a penalty after Jerome Boateng tripped Ozil. But the German playmaker wasted the spot kick with a soft chipped attempt down the middle that Neuer easily saved.

Arsenal kept surging forward with Santi Cazorla, who made way for substitute goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski after the red card, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain having chances to score.


Image: Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal tackles Claudio Pizarro of Bayern on Wednesday
Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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Bayern have now scored in 51 consecutive matches

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At the other end Kroos brought a superb flying one-handed saved from Szczesny, his main contribution before he was sent off.

After the dismissal Bayern wrestled away control of the midfield with Lahm and Kroos causing problems on the right and Robben marauding down the middle.

Their undoubted superiority was rewarded with two fine goals in the 54th and 88th minutes and the visitors could have had a third when a rasping shot from Kroos hit the post in stoppage time.

Bayern have now scored in 51 consecutive matches since Arsenal beat them last year and on this form look capable of becoming the first team to retain the trophy since the Champions League format began in 1992-93.     


Image: Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukic (2nd from) and Javi Martinez (2nd from left) vie for the ball in an aerial challenge against Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny (left), Kieran Gibbs (centre) and Mathieu Flamini (right)
Photographs: Darren Staples/Reuters

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Ruthless Atletico grind Milan

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Atletico Madrid gave AC Milan coach Clarence Seedorf an unhappy return to a competition he graced so magnificently as a player when the Spaniards first frustrated their opponents before snatching a late 1-0 Champions League win on Wednesday.

Diego Costa scored the only goal at the San Siro with a magnificent header seven minutes from time as Atletico proved too cagey and wily for Milan, who twice hit the woodwork in the first 20 minutes of a frenetic Round of 16 first-leg game.

Atletico, with coach Diego Simeone prowling the touchline in his familiar all-black outfit, tweaked Milan's nerves with repeated tactical fouling in midfield, giving away 20 free kicks

"We are a normal team and we try to profit from the situations we create," former Argentina captain Simeone said.

"We work with humility, we started gaining metres and we felt better as the game went on."


Image: Diego Costa (left) of Club Atletico Madrid celebrates after scoring the opening goal during their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match against AC Milan at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan on Wednesday
Photographs: Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

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'In the last 20 minutes, we paid for the effort we put in'

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Milan, the only Italian survivors in the competition, had the better of the first half and players such as Kaka and Adel Taarabat showed odd flashes of skill to bring the San Siro to life.

However, awful defending after halftime gave Atletico encouragement and the Spanish side closed in for the kill in the last 20 minutes.

Dutchman Seedorf, who won a record four Champions League titles as a player with three different clubs, took over for his first coaching job in January after Massimiliano Allegri was sacked and is still settling into his new role.

"In the last 20 minutes, we paid for the effort we put in and we were less lucid, these things happen," Seedorf admitted.

Both sides showed their limitations in a first half which was fast and furious but also scrappy and littered with mistakes.


Image: Juanfran of Atletico Madrid is challenged by Michael Essien of AC Milan on Wednesday
Photographs: Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

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Milan lost a host of goal-scoring opportunities

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Milan were unlucky not to take the lead when Taarabt slipped the ball to Kaka on the edge of the area and the Brazilian produced a delightful first-time shot with his left foot which goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois managed to tip on to the crossbar.

Milan were foiled again three minutes later when Taarabt curled a cross over from the right and Andrea Poli's downward header was tipped on to the foot of the post by the Belgian goalkeeper.

Former World Player of the Year Kaka was again a threat when he curled another shot just over the top with his right foot, this time from Mario Balotelli's clever backheel.

Balotelli also had a chance after a dreadful Gabi clearance but he side-footed his shot wide from the edge of the penalty area.


Image: AC Milan's Mario Balotelli (left) is tackled by Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa on Wednesday
Photographs: Alessandro Bianchii/Reuters

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Milan's defence looked shaky in the 2nd half

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However, the hosts lost momentum after halftime and began to look shaky at the back.

At one point, Milan twice lost possession in their own third of the field in quick succession as they tried to play their way out of defence.

Kaka had another good opening just before the hour when he collected Ignazio Abate's pass, slipped past two defenders and shot just wide of the far post.

But, while Balotelli wasted several free kicks for Milan, Atletico were gaining in confidence and began threatening in the final 20 minutes and it was no surprise when they went ahead.

The visitors won a corner on the right, the ball deflected off the head of Abate and Diego Costa at the far post produced an astonishingly athletic leap to head his fifth goal of the competition. 


Image: Diego Godin (right) of Atletico Madrid competes for the ball with Adil Rami (left) of AC Milan on Wednesday
Photographs: Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

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