March 16, 2011

Divine Inter-vention

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

It almost seemed like, at times, somebody up above was toying with Bayern Munich on Tuesday. How else could you explain the polarity of its luck in the Champions League round of 16 matchup with Intern Milan?

It started off very off early with a Samuel Eto’o run that would probably be called offside 75% of the time, but was allowed to go, finishing with a goal that evened up the series on aggregate.

Then there we Bayern’s two responses: The first off an awkward bobble that Julio Cesar should have handled, which was followed by an overhead flick by Mario Gomez. Then a mistake by Lucio allowed Thomas Muller to score the German side’s second goal, putting it in front 3-1 on aggregate.

But then things got weird. Julio Cesar started playing like the top-notch keeper he’s supposed to be, making a breakaway save on Frank Ribery and a couple of other astounding efforts.

The fates sided with Inter as well. A Bayern chip rolled along the goalline for a second or two before an Inter defender slide it out, off a diving Munich player and then off the post. Arjen Robben was given the ball in the box unmarked and fired it over the net.

Bayern simply couldn’t buy a break.

In the second half, Munich couldn’t hold of the reigning champs. Their defence was simply not up to par and losing the frequently injured Robben didn’t help on the other end either.

The game was finally sealed when a basically unmarked Goran Pandev was slide the ball in the box and fired it home to more the Italians closer to defending their title.

Bayern may cast some blame on its luck, but really, when it goes both ways, as it did at Allianz Arena, they can only blame themselves.

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