A strong home showing from Bayern Munich laid the platform for their progress into the Champions League semi-finals as they beat Juventus 2-0 in their first leg quarter-final match at the Allianz Arena.

Juventus had not lost a single game in this year's competition coming into this tie and were distinctly average on a night when Bayern put them to the sword and would consider themselves fortunate to be down with only a two-goal deficit.

The game began disastrously for Juve when they conceded after just 25 seconds to a speculative David Alaba shot from distance that took a deflection and bounced in front of Gianluigi Buffon, who could not stop it going into the goal.

Juve, though, recovered well from the early setback and hogged possession for a good period passing the ball around neatly and pegging Bayern back in their own half. But that was that for the Italians as it was all Bayern from then on.

Toni Kroos went off injured in the 21st minute with what looked like a groin strain and in came Arjen Robben, who went out right with Thomas Müller coming into the middle. The Dutchman's introduction actually helped the hosts as Robben, who looked sharp and was full of running, brought about an immediate impact. His ranging runs down the right flank opened up the Italians, who were playing with a back three, on numerous occasions.

He had a left-footed drive from inside the box saved by Buffon and then fired just wide when Mueller burst forward down the right and squared to him. The combination of Ribery and Robben on the flanks was too much for Juve to handle and they were unable to cope with the increased threat.

The Italians held on, though, and went to half-time just a goal behind. Forwards Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella barely had a sniff of the ball in the first half as they were predominantly left chasing lost causes. And it was a similar pattern of play in the second half as Munich pressed forward in search of more goals. Antonio Conte would have been very disappointed with his side's showing as they did not take care of the football with numerous mis-placed passes dotting their game.

The forwards, too, were unable to hold possession for any amount of time and this just increased the pressure on their defensive line as the match wore on.

It was only a matter of time before the second goal came, and when Luiz Gustavo's shot from outside the box was parried by Buffon it fell to Mario Mandzukic, who unselfishly passed it to Müller for a simple tap-in.

Mandzukic, who was impressive all night, led the line superbly for the Bavarians, chasing down Juve's defenders when they were on the ball denying them time to play the ball out of defence. Though he didn't get a goal, he was one of Bayern's standout performers on the night.

With the game slipping away, Conte brought on Mirko Vucinic and Sebastian Giovinco as Juventus went in search of a precious away goal in the last 15 minutes of the game. The change did help as Juve looked a much better side with the introduction of the duo and posed more of a threat on the Bayern goal. But, for all of the improvement in their play, they failed to create any clear-cut opportunities.

Bayern performed exceptionally after their somewhat below-par showing against Arsenal in the previous round. Ribery and Robben put on arguably their best European performance of the season and were a constant thorn in Juve's flesh.

They will be confident of progress as they head to Turin with a two-goal advantage and crucially with no away goals conceded. For Juve, it was a disappointing day at the office with their play well below their usual standards, and in the return leg they will have to do without the services of Arturo Vidal and Stephan Lichtsteiner who both picked up yellow cards.

 

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#Football
#UEFA Champions League