Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
New year, same result.
For the second year in a row, Bayern Munich came to the Emirates Stadium and left as victors, this time taking a 2-0 victory over an over-matched Arsenal that played more than 50 minutes with ten men. The series now shifts back to the Allianz Arena on March 11 for the second leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie.
Though Bayern came into the match on a ten-match winning streak, Arsenal looked the better of the two sides in the first ten minutes, culminating with midfielder Mesut Özil earning the Gunners a penalty kick. But Özil’s weak attempt on goal was easily palmed away by Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and from there, the tide began to turn.
The turning point of the match arguably came in the 37th minute as a brilliant chip pass from Philipp Lahm found a streaking Arjen Robben in the box. The Dutch winger beat Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny to the ball before the Polish international clipped Robben, earning a red card and giving Bayern a penalty kick of their own.
David Alaba sent his left-footed penalty kick off the post, but nine minutes into the second half, Toni Kroos took advantage of space at the top of the box to open the scoring on a beautiful strike. Arsenal were then handed another blow as Thomas Müller headed home in the 88th minute, also off a pass from Lahm.
Over in Milan, Clarence Seedorf’s disappointing start as head heach of AC Milan continued with a 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid.
Milan hit the woodwork on two occasions in the first half, first from Kaka and then a header from Andrea Poli that was deflected by Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois onto the post.
Despite Milan’s positive play, it was Diego Costa of Atletico who broke the deadlock, heading home a deflected corner kick from close range. It was all that Atleti needed to hold on for the victory, which ensured that all four road teams won in shutouts in the opening matches of the Champions League knockout round.
Atletico host the return leg on March 11 as well.
What did you think of these results? Did you expect Bayern to win in that fashion? Can Atletico Madrid continue to win? Dos either home team have a chance to win next time out on the road?
Share your thoughts below