LONDON: Bayern Munich strode on towards a possible third Champions League Final in four seasons by dismissing Arsenal 3-1 in North London in their second round first leg; the night’s other tie saw Porto beat Malaga 1-0.
In London the lone Arsenal goal scored by Lukas Podolski – against one of his old clubs – was the first Bayern had conceded this year but it was mere consolation. Arsenal fans, grumpy enough already with manager Arsene Wenger, booed their team off at the end of the first half but dribbled away in virtual silence towards the end of the second.
Midfielder Jack Wilshere, looking shell-shocked, said he still believed Arsenal had an outside prospect of turning the tie around in Munich, saying: “There’s always a chance and we have the players . . . we just have to start better.”
But the Germans have not conceded three goals at home since losing 3-2 at home to Internazionale in the Champions League in March 2011.
Bayern, 15 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, struck on just seven minutes. A Thomas Muller cross from the right was not cleared and Toni Kroos thumped a bouncing shot past Wojciech Szczesny from the edge of the penalty box.
Arsenal needed an instant response but it was Bayern who continued to command midfield. Franck Ribery sent captain Philip Lahm down the right, his cross was put behind for a corner and Muller jabbed the ball home after Daniel van Buyten’s header to the corner was only parried by Szczesny.
Arsenal were in danger of being overrun and panic showed as first Bacary Sagna and then Mikel Arteta were shown yellow cards for clumsy challenges.
Lahm sent another teasing cross in from the right just before half-time which in-form Croatia striker Mandzukic planted wide with a free header from 12 yards.
Having left the field to a cacophony of boos at the break, Arsenal struck back on 55 minutes when Podolski, who had a disappointing three-season spell at Bayern, headed in Wilshere’s right-wing corner after poor judgment by keeper Manuel Neuer.
Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes made a change on 62 minutes as Dutch winger Arjen Robben replaced Ribery while Wenger brought on Olivier Giroud to replace Podolski and Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky for Aaron Ramsey.
The France striker’s first touch was to turn Walcott’s superb right-wing cross goalwards; unfortunately, it was straight at Neuer. That proved a crucial miss as Bayern scrambled in a tie-clinching third goal on 77 minutes.
Robben sidestepped Thomas Vermaelen before releasing Lahm on the overlap down the right. His cross flew through the six-yard box where Mandzukic edged ahead of Sagna and the ball clipped up off the Bayern striker’s shin, over the goalkeeper and into the net.
Porto push on
Porto victory in Portugal was Malaga’s first defeat in their maiden Champions League campaign but Manuel Pellegrini’s men could turn things around at La Rosaleda, where they beat both AC Milan and Zenit St Petersburg in the group stages.
Double European champions Porto dominated the first half possession but created little trouble for visiting keeper Willy Caballero.
The majority of Porto’s efforts before the break were off-target, although Marat Izmailov did bring a diving save out of Caballero in the fourth minute.
Porto’s next two chances saw Fernando and Silvestre Varela head Moutinho corners just wide before Caballero was called into action again on the half-hour mark to comfortable gather an optimistic Fernando shot.
At the other end Malaga rarely ventured into Porto territory and Porto came out strongly at the start of the second half and took just six minutes to fashion the best chance of the game so far.
Sandro sent over a cross from the left and the stretching Izmailov almost managed to turn it into the net, despite not getting a clean connection on his half-volley.
That was a major let-off for Malaga, but they were not so fortunate five minutes later as 1987 and 2004 champions Porto took the lead through Moutinho following more good work from Sandro.
The Brazilian did well to create space before picking out his team-mate’s run into the box with an inch-perfect pass between the Malaga defence and goalkeeper Caballero, which Moutinho side-footed home first time.
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