Arjen Robben had the only goal as Bayern Munich beat Lyon 1-0 in the opening game of their European Champions League soccer semifinal.
Robben scored in the 69th minute at the Allianz Arena in Munich. The teams finished with 10 men after Bayern’s Franck Ribery received a red card in the first half and Lyon’s Jeremy Toulalan was ejected for two yellow cards in the second half.
Lyon will host the return match in the two-game series on April 27. The winner faces defending champion Barcelona or Inter Milan in the final May 22 in Madrid.
Bayern is playing in the semifinals of Europe’s top club competition for the first time since winning its fourth title in 2001. Lyon is making its first appearance in the final four.
The first good chance came in the 13th minute as Bayern’s Bastian Schweinsteiger headed a corner kick wide. Ribery and Ivica Olic then shot wide after working themselves free inside the Lyon area.
Lyon’s Ederson had a shot in the 30th minute from the edge of the area that deflected out for a corner kick.
Ribery was sent off by referee Roberto Rosetti seven minutes later for a lunging challenge to the ankle of Lisandro Lopez. Lyon’s Kim Kallstrom then fired a shot from about 35 yards that goalkeeper Hans-Jorg Butt pushed away with his right hand just before halftime.
Bayern continued to enjoy the majority of possession early in the second half with Danijel Pranjic’s volley knocked down by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Schweinsteiger’s header going over the bar. Phillipp Lahm then passed in the area to an unmarked Thomas Muller, who stumbled and failed to get a shot off.
Lyon lost its man advantage in the 54th minute with Toulalan’s second yellow for a high-footed challenge on Schweinsteiger with a raised foot. Robben started to assert himself by putting a shot just wide of the far post and sending a cross that Mario Gomez weakly headed to Lloris.
Robben struck with 21 minutes remaining. He picked up the ball on the right, cut into the middle and fired a left-footed shot from 30 yards that appeared to deflect off Muller past Lloris. It was the 17th goal in 19 games for the Dutchman, who joined Bayern from Real Madrid in August.
Inter Milan won 3-1 at home last night to open the other semifinal. Barcelona will host the return match on April 28.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.