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Rediff.com  » Sports » CL: Resurgent Gomez gives Bayern last-gasp win

CL: Resurgent Gomez gives Bayern last-gasp win

Last updated on: February 24, 2011 09:43 IST

Gomez strikes the winner for Bayern

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Mario Gomez, widely considered a failure in his first season with Bayern Munich, continued his resurgence with a last-gasp goal to clinch a 1-0 Champions League win at titleholders Inter Milan on Wednesday.

Bayern, inspired by Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, cancelled out Inter playmaker Wesley Sneijder to give the German side some revenge for last season's 2-0 loss to the Italian champions in the final.

Winning coach Louis van Gaal described as "wonderful" a match that suggested his team are close finding the form which took them to last season's final and won them a domestic double.

Inter also created plenty of chances in an end-to-end game but a home defeat in the last-16 first-leg match left their hopes of defending the title hanging by a thread.

"Inter surprised me, they played to win and that is very beautiful," said Van Gaal.

"The whole world has seen a wonderful game and I think both sets of fans could be happy with this game.

"In last year's final, Inter attacked less but got a better result. But that's football," he added.


Image: Bayern Munich players celebrate after their win against Inter Milan at San Siro
Photographs: Getty Images
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Gomez's seventh goal in this season's competition

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Striker Gomez followed up to score his first Champions League knockout stage goal after Arjen Robben's shot had been blocked in the last minute.

It was his seventh goal in this season's competition, level with Inter's Samuel Eto'o, who was twice denied by Bayern goalkeeper Thomas Kraft, and Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka.

Gomez became the Bundesliga's most expensive signing when he joined Bayern from VfB Stuttgart at the start of last season, but struggled to settle.

He played little part in the team, which won the Bundesliga and German Cup double and losing to Inter in the final.

Given his chance after Bayern were plagued by injuries earlier this season, Gomez -- the Bundesliga's leading scorer with 18 goals -- suddenly found his form with four hat-tricks, including one in the Champions League.


Image: Mario Gomez celebrate after scoring against Inter Milan at San Siro
Photographs: Getty Images
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Early fouls

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Bayern quickly set about neutralising Sneijder, making their point with two tough tackles on the Dutchman by Luiz Gustavo, but Van Gaal denied his compatriot had been unfairly treated.

"It's natural that we want stop Sneijder but I don't think we committed too many fouls," he said.

"In any case, he's a master in making the most of things. I think we dealt with the Sneijder problem effectively," he added.

Sneijder's frustration showed when he was booked for dissent in the second half.

Luiz Gustavo, who has stepped in for departed captain Mark van Bommel, was twice close to scoring as Bayern dominated the early possession, at one stage stringing more than 40 passes together.

Sneijder and Eto'o both went close for Inter in the dying seconds before Bayern struck to put themselves in command for the second leg in Munich on March 15.


Image: Inter Milan's (from L) Dejan Stankovic, Cristian Chivu, Wesley Schneider and Thiago Motta react during their Champions League match against Bayern Munich
Photographs: Reuters
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Uninspiring Man United still seek a spark

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Manchester United gained a valuable 0-0 draw at Olympique Marseille in the Champions League but their uninspired display will not have had the likes of Barcelona quaking in their boots.

Marseille boss Didier Deschamps said before the game that three-times winners United lacked "fantasy" now names like Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo are long gone.

With Ryan Giggs injured, Wayne Rooney still not firing, Dimitar Berbatov inconsistent and Nani flattering to deceive, the spark was indeed missing at the Stade Velodrome where the vibrant fans offered the only element of colour.

The hosts struggled to create anything concrete either and United boss Alex Ferguson remained confident the Premier League leaders would progress to the quarter-finals in the second leg at Old Trafford on March 15.

"You'd have to say Manchester United at home, we've got a good chance. We just need to win. I don't care if it's 10-9," he told a news conference.

"A goal away from home is always important, that's a disappointment but I don't think Marseille presented any problems to us in attacking sense. Nothing really happened in the match...and it wasn't a good match to watch," he added.


Image: Marseille's Steve Mandanda claims the ball under a challenge by Wayne Rooney of Manchester United during the Champions League match
Photographs: Getty Images
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Neville mythical

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The Marseille match programme paid tribute to recently retired United defender Gary Neville, describing the former England man as "mythical", and it was exactly the sort of match the dependable if unspectacular right back used to thrive in.

In a dull first half, only United's Darren Fletcher had a really good chance when his sharp effort was smartly saved by Steve Mandanda.

The Ligue 1 champions, who have not reached this stage since becoming the only French side to win the trophy in 1993, upped the pace after the break but Brandao's weak header and Andre Ayew's shot across goal were the only notable efforts.

Deschamps knows the second leg will be difficult but he should have top forward Mathieu Valbuena fully fit and hopes to have fellow striker Andre-Pierre Gignac back from injury.

"Fifty per cent of the job is done as we didn't concede," said the Frenchman, who led Monaco to the final in 2004.

"We were a bit better in the second half. I'm proud of my players but probably in three weeks at Old Trafford it will be a different story. Hope is still there but I'm sure United and Ferguson are happy with that result."


Image: Dimitar Berbatov of Manchester United is challenged by Stephane Mbia of Marseille during the Champions League match
Photographs: Getty Images
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