Bayern make hard work of table-propping 10-man Hanover 96

Bayern make hard work of table-propping 10-man Hanover 96
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MUNICH (Reuters) - Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich stuttered to a 3-1 win over bottom club Hanover 96 on Saturday as substitute Jonathas scored and was sent off in 10 eventful minutes for the visitors.

The Brazilian came on at halftime, converted a penalty six minutes later and was given two yellow cards -- the first for tussling with Bayern goalkeeper in the net -- within four minutes of each other.

Bayern moved closer to a seventh consecutive Bundesliga title as it put them on 74 points, five clear of Borussia Dortmund who visit Werder Bremen later on Saturday. Both teams have two games left after that.

Hanover were spared relegation for at least another week because VfB Stuttgart, who are in the relegation playoff spot, lost 3-1 at Hertha Berlin, leaving them six points clear of Thomas Doll's team.

Robert Lewandowski headed in from Joshua Kimmich's cross in the 27th minute and Bayern were cruising when Leon Goretzka scored with a low shot from the edge of the area, perfectly placed just inside Michael Esser's near post, in the 40th minute.

Kingsley Coman curled a ball just wide and Goretzka contrived to fire against the crossbar from six metres as Bayern threatened a rout.

The game took a different turn in the second half when Jerome Boateng blocked a Linton Maina shot with his elbow and the referee gave a penalty after consulting the VAR amid furious Bayern protests.

Jonathas converted but then pushed Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich as both players tried to collect the ball from the net.

Shortly afterwards, Jonathas was sent off for hitting Kimmich in the face as they went for the ball, although it appeared unintentional.

Bayern struggled against 10 men but finally sealed the points with six minutes left through veteran substitute Franck Ribery who collected a Coman pass, cut inside and scored with a deflected shot

(Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond)

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