Zee Media Bureau/Jayanta Oinam
London: For Bayern Munich, beating one of the title contenders from England, in their own den means the holders are on the right track. In a match which witnessed the English side succumbed to the relentless pressure from the Bavarians, the result could have gone either way.
As early as 8th minute into the game, Arsenal`s record-breaking signing – Mesut Ozil was given a golden opportunity to open the scoring. But the German failed to convert from the spot. And within thirty minutes, Gunners were down to 10 men.
A challenge from Wojciech Szczesny – for tripping Arjen Robben, ended with the goal-keeper getting a red card. Though, Bayern failed to capitalise from the spot, which was taken by David Alaba, the fortunes have already started swinging Bayern`s way. For the home team, it was always going to be an impossible task to contain Pep Guardiola`s outfit with 10 Gunners, at home or away.
After the break, as many wise-men would have predicted, the Bayern-domination started, ever so slowly but surely. Then, by the 54th minute, the opening goal arrived. Philipp Lahm, who started playing in the more advance mid-field role since the arrival of the Spanish manager at the Allianz Arena, executed one sublime pass for Toni Kroos to finish the job. Kroos completed the move, from a deft first touch, inside the English goal.
In between, Arsene Wenger continued to marshal his squad, advising them to keep pushing despite a man down and a goal-down. But unluckily, their persistence could not produce any tangible result as Bayern effectively controlled the game with their sleek, accurate passing. The German domination in London was evident from the fact that, in the second half Gunners were virtually chasing their own shadows. The percentage approaching 90% against their hold.
Like the previous encounter involving an English team in the continental tournament, Gunners also bite the dust once they were reduced to 10-men. A deja-vu. The script also eerily found a similar ending, with a late goal consuming all the joy from the English sides, even for a two-legged tie.
Enjoying his protracted midfield role, Lahm once again created a perfect relay for the ever impressive Thomas Muller to score the decisive goal. Like Manchester City`s 0-2 defeat to Barcelona the other night at The Etihad Stadium, Gunners suffered a defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in pretty much the same fashion – first a red card, then a second half opener to be followed by a very late cup killer at the Emirates.