Bayern Munich Wins in Champions League; Barcelona Held Scoreless
Bayern Munich took another step toward a home Champions League soccer final in May, as defending champion Barcelona went scoreless in the competition for the first time in nearly 2 1/2 years.
Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben scored as Bayern won 2-0 at Marseille in their quarterfinal opener. Barcelona failed to find the net in a 0-0 draw at AC Milan last night after having almost two-thirds of the possession and three times as many shots.
“We had a lot of chances tonight but unfortunately we weren’t able to take advantage of them,” Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes said on UEFA’s website. “The tie is very much open and will now be decided at our stadium.”
Bayern and Barcelona will host the return matches in the two-game series on April 3. The final is May 19 at Munich’s Allianz Arena, Bayern’s home ground.
Chelsea beat Benfica 1-0 and record nine-time winner Real Madrid won 3-0 at APOEL Nicosia two nights ago in the other final eight matchups. The results mark the first time that all four home teams in the Champions League quarterfinals failed to score a goal in the opening match.
Bayern benefited from a mistake by third-string Marseille goalkeeper Elinton Andrade to score a controversial goal in the 44th minute at the Stade Velodrome.
Bayern captain Philipp Lahm appeared to handle the ball, leading to a break that ended with Gomez shooting from just outside the area. Andrade, playing in place of backup Gennaro Bracigliano with starter Steve Mandanda suspended, allowed the ball to go under him and into the net.
“The goal just before the break hurt us because they failed to create many chances before that,” Marseille coach Didier Deschamps said on UEFA’s website. “But great teams only need a few chances to score.”
Robben then clinched the victory in the 69th minute after exchanging passes with Thomas Muller, to put the four-time European champion closer to a semifinal against Real Madrid.
“We still have to play one match at home,” Robben said. “Madrid also won well away, so the possibilities are big that we will meet in the semifinals.”
Barcelona had 62 percent of possession and a 15-4 advantage in shot attempts at the San Siro, though was thwarted by an AC Milan defense that had allowed 11 goals, the most of any team remaining in the competition.
Barcelona last failed to score in a Champions League game on Nov. 4, 2009, when it drew 0-0 at Rubin Kazan.
“We knew it was going to be a tough encounter,” Barcelona captain Carles Puyol said on UEFA’s website. “In the second leg we’ll go out to win as we always do and we have the advantage of trying to do so at home.”
Milan’s Robinho sent a shot from six yards (5.5 meters) out well over the goal in the third minute and Barcelona was denied a penalty after Alexis Sanchez appeared to be taken down by Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati. Messi was then ruled offside as he tapped in a cross from Daniel Alves.
Barcelona pressed for most of the second half and Puyol sent a diving header from a corner kick just wide of the post with 15 minutes left. Abbiati then stopped Messi’s shot in the 88th minute and Luca Antonini blocked Cristian Tello’s follow-up in front of the open net.
The draw keeps seven-time winner Milan unbeaten in 15 home quarterfinal matches in Europe’s elite club competition.
“We showed great commitment despite experiencing some difficult moments,” Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri said on UEFA’s website. “The final result is fair, now we know we can get the qualification in Barcelona.”
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