Record-breaking Bayern beat CSKA to keep up perfect record
Moscow: Holders Bayern Munich eased past CSKA Moscow 3-1 on Wednesday to set a Champions League record with their 10th straight victory in the competition and underline their ambition to become the first team to successfully defend the title.
The Bavarians, who had already qualified for the knockout stage, struck against the run of play in Moscow with Arjen Robben`s superb left-footed strike in the 17th minute.
Mario Goetze added another after a fine run before Keisuke Honda cut the deficit with a penalty just after the hour. Thomas Mueller responded with a penalty of his own to restore their two-goal lead in the 65th.
The Germans, the only team in the competition with a perfect record this season, have not yet secured top spot in Group D and will await the result between Manchester City and Viktoria Plzen later on Wednesday.
Bayern, who were missing several key players including Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Mandzukic, are top on 15 points from five games, with also qualified City on nine from four matches. The Russians are third on three.
On a freezing Moscow evening and amid heavy snowfall, it was the hosts who got off to a stronger start with Sergei Ignashevich`s header cleared off the line by Dante in the fifth minute.
But Bayern, who also set a club record with their sixth straight Champions League away win, stunned the home crowd with their first chance as Robben finished well after Toni Kroos` pinpoint through-ball and Thomas Mueller`s cutback for the Dutchman.
Kroos delivered another perfect cross minutes later with Robben narrowly failing to connect in the box.
CSKA, already out of contention for a top two finish and desperate to salvage a Europa League spot, had several good chances either side of the break.
Ahmed Musa, who broke clear, managed only a weak shot under pressure on the stroke of halftime.
Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer then snatched the ball from under Honda`s legs after the Japanese waited too long to shoot.
Honda then missed another golden opportunity when he failed to connect with a simple tap-in before Bayern, on the backfoot again, struck back through Goetze.
The midfielder, who was also on target in Saturday`s 3-0 league win over his former side Borussia Dortmund, netted with a fine solo effort.
The hosts cut the deficit with a 62nd minute penalty by Honda after a handball by Dante but their joy was short-lived with Bayern restoring the two-goal cushion thanks to Thomas Mueller`s spot kick.
CSKA battled on and hit the bar through Zoran Tosic in the 79th but could not avoid their fourth defeat in the group.