MUNICH, (Reuters) – Holders Bayern Munich recovered from the shock of conceding a stunning Patrice Evra goal to score three times in quick succession to beat Manchester United 3-1 and reach the Champions League semi-finals yesterday.
An uninspiring quarter-final, second leg burst into life when Evra met a bouncing ball with a rasping half-volley to put United ahead in the 57th minute and 2-1 in front on aggregate.
Mario Mandzukic equalised also immediately for Bayern with a header and Thomas Mueller turned in an Arjen Robben cross in the 68th minute before Dutchman Robben added the third himself after a trademark weaving run.
Wayne Rooney had missed a golden chance to put United 2-1 ahead on the night when he scuffed a shot from in front of goal before Bayern took command to progress 4-2 on aggregate and stay on course to emulate last year’s treble.
“I think our first half was okay, we created some chances but we started badly in the second half and were punished,” United’s chief tormentor Robben said.
“It was good to score the equaliser that quickly. Then we added two more and ended it. That’s football. Our coach warned us. 0-0 is okay but we wanted to win, the first 10 minutes after the break was a catastrophe.”
United manager David Moyes, who will not be able to offer the club Champions League football next year, said his team had paid for switching off after taking the lead.
“It probably went wrong 30 seconds after we scored,” he told Sky Sports. “If you’re a schoolboy you’re told don’t concede after you score.
“From the kick-off they went up the pitch and scored, we needed five or 10 minutes to compose ourselves. The players didn’t do an awful lot wrong tonight. They played really well but it was just a couple of small errors.”
As in the first leg that ended 1-1, Bayern totally dominated possession in the first half although they lacked fluency and struggled to create any real openings against a well-drilled United side who were always in the game.
Robben was Bayern’s chief threat, getting into several promising positions after cutting inside on to his left foot in familiar fashion but his efforts were either blocked by defenders or flashed wide.
United had one opening when Rooney got clear of the Bayern defence but he dithered and failed to notice Shinja Kagawa in an unmarked position as the chance went begging.
The visitors went ahead in remarkable fashion when Antonio Valencia burst down the right and, although his cross went behind United’s forwards, the lurking Evra lashed home a net-bursting effort from the edged of the area.
United’s joy was shortlived though as Bayern replied immediately when Mandzukic got in front of Evra to score with a diving header after a Frank Ribery cross from the left.
That opened the game up completely and Rooney should have put United back in front but completely scuffed his shot with only Manuel Neuer to beat from 12 metres after Danny Wellbeck rolled the ball invitingly to him.
United were not given a second chance.
Mueller put Bayern in front when he turned in Robben’s cross from close range.
Robben then ensured there would be no nervous finale for Bayern when he collected a ball on the right and danced his way across the edge of the penalty area past two defenders before squeezing in a shot with took a deflection off of Nemanja Vidic.
With the Bundesliga title already in the bag, Bayern can now look forward to challenging for more silverware in the coming weeks, but for United this defeat all but ended their season.
Seventh in the Premier League, David Moyes’s side will almost certainly be missing from next season’s Champions League.