By MICHAEL KLINE
Arsenal’s hopes to end their infamous trophy drought, which has lasted since 2005, took a turn for the worst as Bayern Munich comfortably dismantled Arsenal’s frail defense, winning 3-1 in front of Arsenal’s home crowd.
Toni Kroos put the German side ahead within seven minutes following a sublime hit from the edge of the box. Arsenal goalie Wojciech Szczesny stood no chance as an unattended Kroos drove a forceful volley into the turf and past the Polish keeper.
Thomas Müller put Bayern into cruise control just fifteen minutes later when he took advantage of Szczesny’s feeble save on Daniel van Buyten’s header from a corner kick. Arsenal were down two and reeling, and luckily found half-time before Bayern netted a third.
The home side came out of half energetic, however, and managed to cut the deficit to one when Manuel Neuer made a mess of an Arsenal corner kick. Lukas Podolski, the former Bayern Munich player, was able to convert on Neuer’s error and put the Gunners on the board.
It was evident a comeback wasn’t in the cards when substitute Olivier Giroud put a shot directly at Neuer from point-blank range. Shortly after, Mario Mandzukic provided a third, and the dagger, when he bungled in a Philipp Lahm ground cross.
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FC PORTO CRUISE PAST MALAGA
The other Champions League match of the day took place at the Estadio do Dragao, where Porto haven’t lost a Champions League match since 2009. The Portuguese side were able to take care of business, beating Malaga 1-0 in a mostly uneventful match.
Malaga were the visitors on the day, and brought with them an unbeaten record through the tournament thus far.
The match was significantly less entertaining than its counterpart in London, mostly because Malaga employed the defensive tactics that have given them so much success on the road so far during the tournament.
Despite controlling possession and bossing the midfield through the entirety of the first half, Porto scrounged up only a couple decent shots on goal, troubling Malaga keeper Willy Caballero on few of them. The half-time whistle blew without so much as a peep from the visitors.
The Portuguese side came out as dominant in the second-half as they were in the first, and finally found the breakthrough after 56 minutes. João Moutinho clinically put away the only goal of the match thanks to a divine pass from Alex Sandro, which curled around defender Martín Demichelis and into the path of the goalscorer.
Porto will be disappointed for only netting once in the clash, but Vítor Pereira will be pleased with the defensive effort of his team, allowing just a single attempt on goal from the visitors.
Manuel Pellegrini will have to alter his tactics when his side hosts the second leg of the tie at La Rosaleda, where Malaga were able to beat AC Milan and Zenit St Petersburg in the group stages.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic entertains possibility of reuniting with Pep Guardiola, and joining Bayern Munich in the future. (REPORT)
David Beckham not a threat to Marseille, according to controversial Joey Barton. (REPORT)
Rafael Benitez calls Real Madrid his “sweetheart” and reveals interest in taking over the Spanish national team after Vincente Del Bosque. (REPORT)
Victor Moses talks about his dream turning into a reality in England and Africa. (REPORT)
Brooklyn Beckham follows in his father’s footsteps once again with trial at Paris Saint-Germain. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? What did you think of today’s Champions League matches? How do you think the return legs will go?
Share your comments below.