Manchester United and Bayern Munich are set for a tight UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg after the two teams drew 1-1 on Tuesday in the first leg at Old Trafford.
Manchester United took the lead through defender Nemanja Vidic's 58th-minute header, but Bayern drew level eight minutes later via a fine team move finished by Bastian Schweinsteiger. Bayern finished the match with 10 men after Schweinsteiger drew a red card in the 90th minute for his second bookable offence.
Schweinsteiger's sending-off means he will be unavailable for the return leg, which is scheduled for April 9 in Munich. But while that might complicate manager Pep Guardiola's job somewhat, the Germans, with an away goal in hand, will like still be considered favourites to advance.
As Infostrada report, teams that draw 1-1 away from home in the first leg have historically held a significant advantage in European knockout ties. Bayern specifically have advanced 11 times in 11 such situations.
Bayern, winners of an historic treble—including the Champions League—last season under Jupp Heynckes, have continued their dominance in Guardiola's first campaign. In addition to reaching the latter stages of the Champions League, Bayern have already won the Bundesliga title in record time, clinching the title with seven matches to spare. Meanwhile, Die Roten also remain alive in the German Cup, with a semi-final against second-tier Kaiserslautern scheduled for April 16.
In his post-match remarks, Guardiola hinted that he was satisfied with the draw. According to UEFA.com, Guardiola said:
We scored an away goal which is quite important, but we also got lucky that the efforts from Welbeck and Rooney didn't go in.
It's always dangerous when you go into the second leg with a 1-1 draw, but even a 2-1 victory would have been dangerous for us. We will try to win the second leg and I am sure we can do it. I have full confidence in my players and hope the fans in Munich will push us like the United supporters did for their team today.
Manchester United, meanwhile, have largely struggled through David Moyes' first season following the retirement of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Currently seventh in the Premier League, the Champions League represents United's last chance of silverware this season.
"We've given ourselves a great opportunity to go to Munich and win," Moyes told UEFA.com. "Our best football has been in this competition and we'll need our best football."
Perhaps sensing the importance of the occasion, United started well and nearly took the lead in the fourth minute. After controlling the ball as it bounced in the box, Danny Welbeck blasted a powerful shot past Manuel Neuer at the Bayern goalkeeper's near post. But the goal was ruled out for a high boot by Welbeck in the build-up.
At the other end, Arjen Robben shot wide in the eighth minute as Bayern began to settle into their possession-heavy attack. Bayern's dominance grew as the half wore on and Robben forced a fine save from David De Gea with a curling shot in the 31st minute.
United had the game's best chance so far in the 40th minute, when Welbeck ran through on Bayern's goal after latching onto Wayne Rooney's through ball. But with only Neuer to beat, Welbeck lofted a soft shot at the Bayern goalkeeper, who saved.
At half-time, Moyes introduced Shinji Kagawa in place of veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs. United responded well and took the lead in the 58th minute. Rooney played provider, curling in a corner from the right for Vidic, who, while moving away from the goal, placed his header in the net at the bottom corner to put United ahead 1-0.
Bayern were shocked but were not behind for long.
Jerome Boateng tested De Gea with a long shot in the 66th minute and only moments later, Schweinsteiger equalised. Robben started the move, laying off for Rafinha on the right. Rafinha crossed into the middle, where substitute Mario Mandzukic nodded down into Schweinsteiger's path. With his first touch, Schweinsteiger swept high into the net to pull Bayern level and give the Germans a valuable away goal.
Bayern were suddenly on the front foot again and Robben came close with a curling left-footed effort after cutting in from the right in the 71st minute. Robben came closer still seven minutes later, bouncing a low shot inches wide with his right foot.
But although the visitors seemed ready to grab a winner, the goal never came. Instead, Schweinsteiger was sent off in the 90th minute for his second bookable offence, a foul on Rooney.
Reaction to follow…
|Manchester United Player Ratings vs. Bayern Munich|
|David De Gea||9||8|
|Shinji Kagawa (for Giggs, 46')||N/A||6|
|Ashley Young ( for Buttner, 74')||N/A||7|
|Javier Hernandez (for Welbeck, 85')||N/A||8|
|Ratings by B/R UK|
|Bayern Munich Player Ratings vs. Manchester United|
|Mario Mandzukic (for Muller, 63')||N/A||8|
|Mario Gotze (for Kroos, 74')||N/A||6|
|Ratings by B/R UK|
Both teams return to their domestic leagues this weekend. Bayern Munich play at Augsburg on Saturday. Manchester United play at Newcastle the same day.
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