Bayern crush Arsenal in Champions League tie

Berlin, Feb 16 (IANS) FC Bayern Munich thrashed Arsenal 5-1 after a dominating performance saw them pump in four second half goals in the fist leg of their UEFA Champions League pre-quarterfinal tie here.

Arsenal were only able to hold the pace in the first half on Wednesday as Bayern turned up after the restart to extend their Champions League winning record to 16 consecutive victories on home soil, reports Xinhua news agency.

The German giants had a bright start in front of 70,000 spectators as Arjen Robben broke the deadlock with just 11 minutes into the encounter.

The Dutchman had all the time and space to cut into the Arsenal penalty box from the right before unleashing a curling shot into the top corner at the far post.

Bayern controlled the proceedings but were unable to double the lead in the first half whereas Arsenal restored parity out of the blue when Alexis Sanchez tapped home the rebound following a blocked penalty in the 29th minute.

The visitors had even the opportunity to grab the lead just before the break but Mesut Oezil failed to overcome Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer from a promising position.

After the restart, Carlo Ancelotti’s men increased the pressure and pressed Arsenal into the defence. The hosts’ efforts paid off in the 53rd minute as Robert Lewandowski headed home Philipp Lahm’s pinpoint cross across custodian David Ospina.

Bayern gained momentum and established a two-goal lead after Lewandowski’s back-heel through ball found Thiago Alcantara, who tapped home into the bottom left corner three minutes later.

The hosts were not done with the scoring as Thiago wrapped up his brace after scoring the 4-1 with a deflected shot from the edge of the box before Thomas Mueller rounded off the 5-1 victory two minutes after his fielding in the 88th minute.

“We staged a compact performance and did not give them opportunities to score. The result is the most important thing but we showed our offensive qualities,” Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti said.

Bayern travel to London for the second leg of the Champions League last 16 on March 7.

–IANS

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