Arsenal’s hopes of avoiding an eighth consecutive trophiless season almost vanished on Tuesday night after Arsene Wenger’s men were beaten 3-1 by Bayern Munich in their Champions League last 16 first leg tie at the Emirates.
Bayern dominated the Londoners in the first half and Toni Kroos blasted the Bavarians in front after just seven minutes to silence the home support.
The on-form midfielder – who has shined in the runaway Bundesliga leaders this term – hit Thomas Mueller’s cross on the bounce and past Wojciech Szczesny from 18 yards.
Mueller got on the scoresheet himself to double the visitors’ lead on 21 minutes. Szczesny failed to hold to to Daniel Van Buyten’s header from a corner and tipped it into the path of Mueller, who stabbed home from close range.
Lukas Podolski brought the game back to life ten minutes after the restart. The Bayern defence failed miserably to deal with Jack Wilshere’s corner leaving the former Bayern forward free to nod home past Manuel Neuer. It was the first goal conceded by the Germans this year.
Arsenal, who are out of the Premier League title race and the FA Cup, played with a lot more tempo in the second half and threatened on several occasions but missed the cutting edge needed.
Olivier Giraud came on for goal scorer Podolski on 70 minutes and the Frenchman nearly found the back of the net two minutes later, but his close-range shot fired off Neuer’s body to keep the Germans in front.
Arsenal’s better second half efforts all came undone on 77 minutes in almost comical fashion. After a well worked moved going forward Phillipe Lahm fired in across the face of goal for Bundesliga joint top scorer Mario Mandzukic to clumsily bundle the ball home with his ankles – although back-tracking Bacary Sagna’s toes might have helped.
With the Emirates already half empty the final whistle blew to signal Bayern’s deserved 3-1 victory and Arsenal’s mamouth uphill battle to stay in the competition in the return leg at the Allianz Arena next month.
Elsehwere Joao Moutinho scored the winner as Potro beat previously undefeated Malaga at the Dragao Stadium in the pair’s first leg time in Portugal.
Porto enjoyed most of the possession against the visitors but had to wait until the second half to break the stalemate.
Replays showed a whiff of offside for Moutinh’s goal but despite strong appeals from the Malaga players it was awarded.
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