MUNICH: Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich completed an dramatic Champions League comeback over 120 minutes to reach the quarter-finals at the expense of Juventus.
The Serie A leaders – and last year’s beaten finalists – thought they had done enough to eliminate Bayern in their own Allianz Arena thanks to first-half goals from Paul Pogba and Juan Cuadrado.
But Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller struck after the break to send the game into extra time, and Juve’s race was run when Thiago Alcantara and Kingsley Coman earned Bayern a 4-2 win.
Guardiola will now watch Friday’s draw with interest as he looks to avoid former employers Barcelona and future paymasters Manchester City, with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain also lurking.
Juve broke forward well in the early exchanges and were rewarded for their ambition as a mistake from David Alaba allowed Paul Pogba to score a fifth-minute opener.
Morata was ruled offside when his chipped finish beat Neuer in the 23rd minute – the Spaniard was soon to get his revenge, though.
After skipping past a swarm of red shirts he fed Cuadrado who, after appearing to falter, impressively dummied Philipp Lahm before smashing home with his right boot.
Juve were first to threaten following the restart, and they did so twice inside a minute with Morata robbing Alaba for an attempt that got Neuer working, before Pogba fizzed the ball over the crossbar.
But in the 73rd minute, Lewandowski – the Pole entered Wednesday’s game with seven goals in his last seven European outings – dragged Bayern back into the tie by heading Douglas Costa’s cross past Buffon.
The Allianz Arena clock had just ticked past 90 when Muller forced extra time by meeting on-loan Juve midfielder Coman’s assist with a powerful header.
In the second half of extra time substitute Thiago used his fresh legs to burst to convert Muller’s lay-off before, with 10 minutes of 120 remaining, Coman hurt his parent club with a close-range finish.
In Spain Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed ‘exceptional’ Barcelona after they knocked out the Gunners with a 3-1 victory (5-1 on aggregate) at the Nou Camp.
Leading 2-0 from the first leg, Barca extended their advantage through Neymar’s first-half strike before Mohamed Elneny pulled a goal back for the visitors.
Luis Suarez’s acrobatic volley and Lionel Messi’s deft finish sent Barca through to their ninth consecutive Champions League quarter-final, but Wenger, who was pleased with his side’s overall performance, insists Arsenal had Luis Enrique’s side worried at 1-1.
Wenger said: “I felt from the bench they were wobbling a bit and a bit insecure but we could not take our chances to score the second goal that would have put us in a strong position.
“When they scored to make it 2-1 you could see we lost a bit of our edge and belief, but there were moments at 1-1 where you could see that we had our chances.
“I’m pleased with the performance we put in but disappointed with the result but overall we played against a team with the best strikers I’ve seen.
“The three together are absolutely exceptional and from nothing they can create a chance. Well done Barca. They are an exceptional side.”