Bayern in great escape act, United cruise through
Bayern Munich pulled off a memorable 4-1 win at Juventus on Tuesday to ensure their place in the next round of the Champions League at the expense of the Italian giants.
Bayern were joined in the knockout stages by CSKA Moscow, 2-1 winners at Besiktas, AC Milan, and nine-time champions Real Madrid.
Milan, who drew 1-1 at FC Zurich, took the Group C runner-up spot behind Real, who came away from their trip to Marseille with a convincing 3-1 victory.
Manchester United sealed top spot in Group B coasting to a 3-1 win at Wolfsburg, all the goals coming from Michael Owen.
At Stamford Bridge Chelsea, already crowned Group D winners, were held to a disappointing 2-2 draw by APOEL Nicosia.
Elsewehere on Tuesday Atletico Madrid slumped to a 3-0 defeat to FC Porto at home, yet still have European ambitions as they join the likes of Juventus and Liverpool, in action on Wednesday, in the Europa League as the third placed team in Group D.
And Bordeaux, already through as Group A winners, rounded off their impressive first round campaign with a 1-0 win at Maccabi Haifa.
There was no mistaking the game of the night however with Bayern’s get out of jail act in Turin.
In a winner takes all clash to take second spot Bayern went for the jugular and deservedly earned their place in the last 16.
The four time champions got the result they craved with goals from keeper Hans-Jorg Butt from the penalty spot, Ivica Olic, Mario Gomez. Anatoliy Tymoschuk sealed the result they craved in injury time.
David Trezeguet had put the hosts into an early lead.
Bayern coach Louis van Gaal said: “There are some pleased faces in the changing room and everybody is very, very happy.
“You could say that Juventus played terribly but you could also say that we played brilliantly.”
Despite the result van Gaal’s thoughts were already turning to domestic matters with Bayern lying fourth in the German league, the coach commenting: “Now we have to get back to the Bundesliga and Bochum will be a very, very hard team to beat this weekend.”
Juve, who only needed a draw to progress, were a shadow of the team that beat Inter Milan on Saturday.
Playmaker Diego claimed the Italians lacked the right character to win and said he understood fans who jeered at the final whistle.
“The jeers were justified given that we didn’t do well, the fans should react like this,” he said.
“Our attitude wasn’t right, things were different against Inter. Bayern understood what they had to do on the pitch.”
At the Velodrome stadium the French south coast Cristiano Ronaldo turned on the style for Real Madrid, the Portuguese star netting a double, including a superbly taken freekick, with Raul Albiol sealing the victory over Marseille.
Marseille had their chances with midfielder Lucho pulling one back but he missed a golden opportunity in the second half when sending a penalty over the bar.
Marseille coach Didier Deschamps shrugged: “There is a difference between Marseille and Real Madrid. I knew it before and I know it even better now.
“They are better technically, there’s no doubt about it. We could only hope and admit it’s a pity we missed out on chances.”
In Germany Owen’s sparkling hat-trick gave England coach Fabio Capello food for thought ahead of next year’s World Cup.
It was Owen’s first Champions League hat-trick since joining Manchester United last summer.
“Michael Owen is one of the best strikers in the last third of the field in terms of his movement, his positional play and also in terms of his finishing,” insisted United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
United’s Premier League rivals Chelsea were made to pay for some costly mistakes in their draw with APOEL Nicosia.
John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho were exposed by Marcin Zewlakow’s early opener for APOEL and, although Michael Essien and Didier Drogba put Chelsea ahead before half-time, the hosts had to settle for a draw when John Obi Mikel’s blunder presented Nenad Mirosavljevic with a late equaliser.
Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti said: “I am unhappy. We went a goal down and did a good reaction, scored two goals and played with intensity. But the second half was totally different.”
Wednesday’s programme includes holders Barcelona and Inter Milan, who are out to seal their qualification into the knock out stages.—AFP