Bayern book last-eight spot despite 2-0 defeat by Arsenal
Malaga through after fightback
Lacklustre Bayern Munich advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals yesterday despite losing 2-0 to Arsenal in Munich to book their ticket on the away goals rule.
Olivier Giroud netted in the third minute to give the Gunners early hope after their 3-1 first leg defeat last month as they tried to become only the third team ever to advance in the knockout stage after losing the first leg at home.
Laurent Koscielny set up a nervous finale when he headed in their second goal five minutes from time but Arsenal failed to grab a third that would have sent them through.
Arsenal’s exit means that there will be no Champions League quarter-finalist from England for the first time since the 1995/96 season although the Gunners returned with their pride restored after becoming the first English team to win away against Bayern since Norwich in the 1993/94 season.
Despite a string of key absences, including forward Lukas Podolski and Jack Wilshere, Arsenal shot out of the blocks and made good on their promise of an early goal when Theo Walcott cut into the box and slid the ball across for Giroud to ram the ball into the net after three minutes.
Bayern kept their cool and took control of the game, helped by Arsenal’s sloppy passing, and had a chance of their own with Luiz Gustavo firing over the bar from just outside the box after 10 minutes.
Tony Kroos also tried his luck from a distance as a solid Arsenal defence, including left-back Kieran Gibbs, worked hard to keep the Bavarians well away from the box.
Bayern injected more pace in the second half and Arjen Robben, replacing injured Franck Ribery, came agonisingly close to an equaliser right after the restart but keeper Lukasz Fabianski stretched to palm his low drive around the post.
Fabianski, starting for Wojciech Szczesny who was left at home because of what coach Arsene Wenger said was mental fatigue, came to the rescue again when the Dutchman raced clear and the keeper blocked his shot at point blank range.
Bayern enjoyed plenty of shots at goal although they badly lacked their usual ruthless edge and were severely shaken when Koscielny rose to head in Santi Cazorla’s corner.
With the aggregetate score at 3-3 the hosts survived three minutes of stoppage time without any major alarms although it was not the march into the last eight that many had expected.
Debutants Malaga kept their Champions League dream alive when Isco and substitute Roque Santa Cruz struck in a 2-0 win at home to 10-man Porto that sent the La Liga side through to the last eight 2-1 on aggregate.
Playmaker Isco put Malaga ahead with a brilliant curling effort two minutes before half-time and Porto’s hopes were dealt a further blow four minutes after the break when midfielder Steven Defour was shown a second yellow card and sent off.
Malaga probed patiently for a second and Santa Cruz headed into the net from Isco’s corner in the 77th minute, moments after coming off the bench.
With the tie still delicately balanced, Porto threw more men forward but Malaga held firm to ensure their name will be included in tomorrow’s draw for the quarter-finals.
Last 16 – second legs
Malaga vs Porto - 2-0 (Malaga win 2-1 on aggregate)
Bayern Munich vs Arsenal - 0-2 (Agg: 3-3. Bayern through on away goals)
The other results
Schalke 04 vs Galatasaray - 2-3 (Galatasaray win 4-3 on aggregate)
Barcelona vs Milan - 4-0 (Barcelona win 4-2 on aggregate)
Manchester United vs Real Madrid - 1-2 (Real Madrid win 3-2 on aggregate)
B. Dortmund vs S. Donetsk - 3-0 (B. Dortmund win 5-2 on aggregate)
Juventus vs Celtic - 2-0 (Juventus win 5-0 on aggregate)
Paris St Germain vs Valencia - 1-1 (Paris St Germain win 3-2 on aggregate)
Quarter-finals: April 2-3; April 9-10.