GUNNERS GET “GUNNED” DOWN
By: Siyanda Ndlovu
Bayern Munich are in pole position to advance to the Uefa Champions League quarter-finals after a 2-0 victory over a 10-man Arsenal on Wednesday.
The Gunners were looking to avenge last season’s results as they went down 2-0 to the same opponents in the same competition.
It was Toni Kroos’ stupendous strike and Thomas Muller who gave the defending champions an emphatic advantage in their last-16 first-leg tie at the Emirates stadium.
Early in the game, Kroos fired a shot outside the box but goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had it covered. Soon after, Arsenal replied when Yaya Sanogo’s low lying shot was palmed to force a corner kick by Manuel Neuer.
Mesut Ozil was a foul victim inside the box by Jerome Boateng and the Gunners were awarded a penalty. Ozil’s poor penalty was easily palmed by German compatriot Neuer.
Both teams kept the tempo of the game at high. Sonogo looped the pass over Bayern defense to give Alex Oxlade Chamberlain a one to one with Neuer but the German keeper was quick enough to clear the ball out.
The Gunners paid the bigger price when keeper Szczesny was sent off after he clipped Dutchman Arjen Robben and Bayern were offered a penalty. David Alaba stepped up to take it but his low driven shot went slightly wide.
In the second half, Phillipe Lahm played a shot pass from the left apex to Kroos who curled in a spectacular short to beat keeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Arsenal tried to come back but the Bavarians gave them no chance as they kept pressing them down. Substitute Muller tapped in a fine header in the 88th minute to put his side a commanding lead.
Kroos could have completed his brace in the last minute but his shot hit the post.
In another Champions League match, Atletico Madrid scrambled past AC Milan when the in-form Diego Costa fired a powerful header seven minutes from the final whistle to seal a 1-0 victory.