MUNICH: Dutch winger Arjen Robben’s wonderful strike sealed Bayern Munich’s 1-0 victory over Lyon on Wednesday to give the German giants an advantage for the second-leg of the Champions League semi-final.
The first-half dismissal of Bayern’s Franck Ribery for a dangerous challenge was cancelled out by Lyon’s France defender Jeremy Toulalan also getting sent off just after the break for a second yellow card before Robben’s winner. Red Ribery Having had his chances to score, Ribery was shown a straight red by referee Roberto Rosetti on 37 minutes for a dangerous foul on Lyon’s striker Lisandro Lopez as he body-checked the Argentinian while fighting for the ball.
Bayern’s fans were praying for blood after Rosetti flashed his red card, especially as Lopez was quickly on his feet after initially writhing in agony. The game’s tempo dropped as Bayern Louis van Gaal re-organised his team into a more offensive formation as it stayed 0-0 at the break. Ref’s equaliser At the interval, Bayern’s defensive midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk came on for striker Ivica Olic but Lyon were soon also reduced to ten men as well when Toulalan seemed to let the occasion get to him.
Having carelessly left his trailing leg to trip Robben, he sent the Dutchman tumbling to the turf to earn himself a yellow card on 51 minutes. Just three minutes later, he kicked away Bastian Schweinsteiger’s leg when challenging for a ball and Rosetti was reaching for his red card even before Schweinsteiger landed on the pitch on 54 minutes.
Lyon coach Claude Puel immediately brought on Cameroon midfielder Jean Makoun for Miralem Pjanic to bring on fresh legs, while van Gaal brought in Germany striker Mario Gomez for midfielder Danijel Pranjic on 63 minutes. Gomez, who has struggled for confidence since his transfer from Stuttgart more than 18 months ago, missed a clear header created by Robben, but the pressure finally told for Bayern. Robben launched his shot from well outside the penalty area on 69 minutes and the ball deflected off the back of Mueller to beat Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Despite the French side’s efforts, Bayern stayed in control and will take a slender advantage to Lyon for the second-leg on April 27.
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