Bayern Munich got just the result it was looking for on Wednesday in Turin, earning a 2-0 victory over Juventus to advance to the 2013 UEFA Champions League semifinals.
The Bavarians will advance to the semifinals for the second straight year after winning 4-0 on aggregate thanks to a 2-0 victory in Munich last week. David Alaba and Thomas Muller were the two heroes for Bayern in that match, but it was Mario Mandzukic and Claudio Pizarro who delivered in the second leg.
After over an hour of scoreless and rather uneventful play at Juventus Stadium, Mandzukic finally broke through for Bayern, putting the visitors ahead 1-0 and essentially locking up a berth in the Champions League semifinals.
GOAL Mario Mandzukic!! A brilliant save from Gigi Buffon isn't enough & the Croatian striker heads home. 3-0 on aggregate. #UCL— KYCK (@KYCKfutbol) April 10, 2013
Juventus did its best to rally over the final third of the match, but was unable to get past Manuel Neuer and the Bayern defense.
A part from Vucinic and Padoin....this a very weak Juve....Bayern are totally controling the game #HugeUpset— Ramez Youssef Nathan (@RamezYNathan) April 10, 2013
Pizarro would add another goal for good measure in injury time, putting the Bavarians up 2-0 late and helping Bayern finish off its Italian foe in front of its home crowd.
GOAL! Juventus 0 Bayern Munich 2 (Pizarro 90). Pizarro nets with a low shot in the box. #ucl— TEAMtalk (@TEAMtalk) April 10, 2013
Jupp Heynckes' side is now just one round away from returning to the UEFA Champions League final, where it lost a heartbreaker to Chelsea in 2012. Bayern is joined by Barcelona, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League semifinals.
Mario Mandzukic, Bayern Munich: A
The Croatian striker took advantage of being in the right place at the right time on Wednesday, scoring the match's first goal and putting Juventus in a mighty hole with less than a half hour to play.
Although he picked up a yellow card just seven minutes into the match, Mandzukic's 64th minute header more than made up for his early blunder.
Andrea Pirlo, Juventus: B
Andrea Pirlo was, without a doubt, the best player on the pitch for a lackluster Juventus squad on Wednesday. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to capitalize on any of his early opportunities.
Andrea Pirlo won't see two better free kick opportunities than those.— Matteo Bonetti (@TheMilanGuy) April 10, 2013
Pirlo finished with a couple of shots and drew several fouls on the break. But in the end, he couldn't make it count in front of the net, failing to turn the tide on this Champions League quarterfinal tie.
Arjen Robben, Bayern Munich: B
Robben was his usual aggressive self on Wednesday, attacking and getting the ball forward for the Bavarians. Though he failed to score a goal, extending his Champions League drought to four matches, the Dutch winger deserves credit for keeping the Juventus back line on its toes, recording three shots in the victory.
FootballFacts101 tweeted this interesting statistic on Robben during Wednesday's match.
Arjen Robben scores a goal every 20 shots in Europe this season, the lowest ratio among players left in the Champions League 2012/13. #UCL— FootballFacts101 (@FootballFact101) April 10, 2013
Leonardo Bonucci, Juventus: C
None of the Juventus defenders truly stepped up at home on Wednesday, but Leonardo Bonucci was particularly disappointing.
The 25-year-old picked up a yellow card less than 15 minutes into the match and committed a pair of unnecessary fouls.
Franck Ribery, Bayern Munich: B
Franck Ribery was aggressive, for the most part, in midfield for Bayern, igniting the visitors' attack and keeping pressure applied to the Juventus defense until he was taken off in the 80th minute.
Wednesday's performance was hardly a memorable effort from the Frenchman, but it was good enough to push Bayern through to the semis, and that's all that matters.
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