Womenforfootball.com – It is embarrassing that I have not been able to update my blog in a month, but a lengthy vacation was the main reason for the delay.
As football fans witnessed yesterday, in Round of 16 of UEFA Champions League, where top European clubs are drawn against each other and play two-legged tie.
On Tuesday, yesterday, the second legged tie of Bayern Munich and Arsenal was held, and although the match ended with 1-1 draw, but Bayern Munich knocked out Arsenal in Aggregate score.
Here is my match report including Managers’ Reaction that was published on Soccer Without Limit:
In a highly contested match-up, there were three missed penalties, one red carded goalkeeper and nine yellow cards exchanged between Arsenal and Bayern Munich in the two-legged tie. At the end though, Arsene Wenger’s consecutive Champions League experience with Arsenal was cut short by Pep Guardiola’s impressive Bayern Munich side.
Coming to the second leg match with 2-0 scoreline in favour of Bayern Munich, Arsenal squad had to put twice as much effort as last time to advance to Quarter Finals. Yet from the get go, it was evident that it was Bayern Munich squad who had more determination to win the match.
The first chance for Arsenal came in minute 28 thanks to Chamberlain who proved to be best player of Arsenal squad. Thanks to his fast pace that forced foul play by Bayern defenders, Arsenal got their first free-kick that later got deflected off Cazorla.
Later into the First half, Alaba, Mandzukic and Robben all had their share of off target shots at Arsenal net, until Gotze aimed precisely at Arsenal net but Fabianski accurately saved the shot.
The first half ended 0-0, and at half time Wenger found out he would also lose Ozil due to his hamstring pains.
Fast paced Rosicky replaced Ozil in the second half. In minute 54, Bayern’s domination finally paid off when thanks to the huge gap in Arsenal’s central defense, Ribery sent a clinical pass to Schweinsteiger, the absentee from first leg match, and he wasted no chance by scoring the first goal of the match. It looked hopeless for Arsenal team, which were now falling behind 3-1 in aggregate. Yet Podolski quickly scored an equalizer only a minute later through a great strike.
Up to that point, according to the match statistics, Bayern Munich had four times as many passes between their players versus the Arsenal squad.
Bayern’s penetration continued to seal the deal and Robben did just that. Robben’s continued efforts in Arsenal’s box paid off through a slight push by Koscielny in minute 68, and referee called for a penalty kick. Muller stepped up to take the spot-kick, but Fabianski’s brilliant save denied the goal.
Score-wise, the two teams remained even until the final whistle; So that Arsenal and Ozil in particular, dearly regret that penalty kick blunder in the first leg that could have been a life saver for the Gunners.
Overall though, the deserved team advanced to the quarterfinal as Arsenal, ironically did not have the expected sense of urgency to win this match at all cost. For that reason, Arsenal is the first English team that is knocked out of the elite Champions League competition this season.
Arsene Wenger conceded they were not sharp enough in this match: “Spirit-wise we gave everything until the end,” said Wenger. “Good luck to Bayern. They are a good side but I think they were more vulnerable this season than last year. I felt Bayern was very vulnerable defensively and that we didn’t take advantage of that. You could see they became suddenly nervous. They are a great side with great players but we still have regrets over the two games.
“The great regret we have is that in the last five years we played twice Barcelona and twice Bayern and every time when the teams are at the top of their game. I must say, in the last two years we were done very harsh.”
Pep Guardiola was content they were superior to Arsenal: “They were better for eight minutes in the first leg,” Guardiola told Sky Sport Germany. “For the rest of the time we were superior. Arsenal had no chances in the first half. They defended with many players and we controlled the match, except for the goal we conceded and that could have been a foul.“
“We had a 2-0 advantage from the first leg. We limited our mistakes and did not allow Arsenal any counter attacks. We played on a very high level and now we are in the quarterfinals.”