LONDON: One favourite and one outsider completed the semi-finals line-up for the Champions League as Bayern Munich and Atletico de Madrid dismissed Manchester United and Barcelona respectively.
Holders Bayern went a goal down to United early in the second half then struck three times in quick succession to claim a comparatively predictable 4-2 aggregate success.
Atletico sprang a surprise, however, by seeing off Spanish champions Barcelona. The Colchoneros had secured a 1-1 draw last week in Camp Nou and finished the job with a 1-0 home win for a 2-1 aggregate. It could have been more: they hit the posts three times in the opening 20 minutes.
In Munich Patrice Evra put the visitors ahead with a superb second-half strike at Munich’s Allianz Arena but Bayern hit back just 69 seconds later through a diving Mario Mandzukic header.
Thomas Muller then tapped Bayern into the lead before Arjen Robben slotted the hosts third to keep the defending champion on course for the May 24 final in Lisbon.
“They scored the first goal so of course it was a tricky tie, but in the end 3-1 is a very good result,” said the former Chelsea winger. “I think it was very important we scored straight after they did. It was crucial today. It looked like a wake-up call because the first 10 minutes of the second half were a disaster the way we played.
“We were not there and you cannot do that in the Champions League – you will be punished. That’s what they did but it was a wake-up call and we scored three goals.
“We wanted to attack and play our football. They were there for the counter-attack – they are very dangerous with great players up front who are very quick.
“We had to be careful. In the first half we controlled the game, in the second half we were very, very bad and we got punished, but fortunately we turned it around.”