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Rediff.com  » Sports » Turning points: How Bayern beat Arsenal; Milan pay for 20 minutes of sloppy play

Turning points: How Bayern beat Arsenal; Milan pay for 20 minutes of sloppy play

Last updated on: February 20, 2014 15:44 IST

Turning points: How Bayern beat Arsenal; Milan pay for 20 minutes of sloppy play

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Did the penalty miss cost Arsenal? Would things have been different had AC Milan defended stoically in the second-half?

Rediff.com presents the turning points from Wednesday night's UEFA Champions League matches.

German champions Bayern Munich are in a great position to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals following the 2-0 win over Arsenal on Wednesday in an away match at the Emirates Stadium in London.

Pep Guardiola's side rode their luck in a dramatic last 16 first leg clash, although they were able to maintain their class after a sublime strike from Toni Kroos followed by Thomas Mueller's killer second goal in the closing stages.

Arsenal gave their supporters a lot to cheer early on as they dominated the first 30 minutes but failed to capitalise.

First, Yaya Sanogo failed to find the net and then Santi Cazorla was denied by Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Arsenal's frenzied start had clearly rattled the visitors and they should have been ahead in the ninth minute. Ozil was sent up to take a penalty after he was fouled by Jerome Boateng. But the German, who hasn’t been in the best of form of late, made a hash of the chance.

Had he converted, Arsenal could have had a one-goal cushion and gone all out to dominate the German side. 


Image: Arsenal's Mesut Ozil reacts after missing a penalty against Bayern Munich during their Champions League match on Wednesday
Photographs: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

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Bayern's tactical changes in the second half proved pivotal

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However, the story did not pan out that way.

In the 40th minute, Bayern’s Arjen Robben was brought down in the area by Arsenal 'keeper Wojciech Szczesny, who was sent off.

Bayern also wasted a chance of taking the lead when Austrian left-back Alaba hit a poor penalty which clipped a post and bounced wide.

After the dismissal of Szczesny, Bayern, though, capitalized on their numerical superiority. It was this advantage that probably gave the Germans confidence to attacjk in the second half.

After the break, Bayern sent in Rafinha for Boateng and moved Javi Martinez to central defence, allowing right-back Philipp Lahm to move in midfield and dictate the tempo. They soon wrestled away control of the midfield, with Phillip Lahm and Toni Kroos causing problems on the right and Robben marauding down the middle.

They finally broke the deadlock in the 54th minute through Kroos, who curled in a right-foot shot, and then substitute Thomas Mueller headed one home in the 88th minute to put the champions a giant step closer to the quarter-finals.


Image: Toni Kroos of Bayern Munich celebrates with teammate Dante after scoring the opening goal 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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Milan pay for 20 minutes of sloppy play

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Spanish side Atletico Madrid defeated Italy's AC Milan 1-0 in their last-16 first-leg game away at the San Siro Stadium.

Although Milan created the better chances in the game, they were frustrated, as Kaka had an impressive shot tipped on to the crossbar by Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who also deflected the hosts' Andrea Poli's header on to the post in a dramatic first-half spell.

Atletico, however, proved too cagey and wily for Milan, who twice hit the woodwork in the first 20 minutes of a frenetic match.

It eventually proved to be a decisive factor in the outcome of the match.


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

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Costa's late header at the far post that changed the fortunes of both teams

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Some awful defending after half-time gave Atletico encouragement and the Spanish side closed in for the kill in the last 20 minutes.

It was Diego Costa’s late header at the far post that changed the fortunes of both teams.

Milan’s defence failed to clear a corner, leading the Spaniards to win a fast, furious and often scrappy and ill-tempered match. 


Image: Diego Costa (left) of Atletico Madrid celebrates after scoring 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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