Bayern Munich will travel to Lyon for the concluding leg of their UEFA Champions League 2010 Semi-Final with a 1-0 advantage after an Arjen Robben confirmed the superiority they had enjoyed for much of tonight’s game.
The result came despite losing their talented midfielder Franck Ribery at the end of the first half, the Frenchman was shown a straight red card for a deliberate stamp on Lyon defender Cris.
Bayern should have been at least one goal to the good at the time of this sending off, however, as both Schweinsteiger and last week’s hero Olic missed simple chances to take the lead from good positions.
In the second half, despite being a player down, it was Bayern, not Lyon, who looked the more likely to score, and so it would prove, but not until the French side was reduced to ten men after two yellow cards in quick succession for Toulalan saw the midfielder receive his marching orders.
Bayern also missed another two excellent chances, through Muller and substitute Gomez, the former had a guilt edged chance to score after great work and a cut-back from Philip Lahm, but tripped over the ball from within ten yards.
So it would fall, once more, to Arjen Robben to cut in from the left and smash a hopeful shot, as is becoming a Champions League tradition for Bayern Munich. He did so again, but from slightly further out than against Fiorentina or Manchester United this time. The ball clipped Muller’s head before spearing into the left side of Lyon’s goal.
Lloris, who had an otherwise excellent game in goal for Lyon, will be disappointed that the shot from such distance wrong-footed him, but there was plenty of venom in the Dutchman’s shot, and the deflection, though negligable, did make life more difficult for the ‘keeper.
Lyon’s management may well consider this a good result. They should. Bayern should have been out of sight after this first leg, such was their superiority. Lyon played with no desire, no drive, and no real game plan other than to frustrate, which they failed to do on countless occasions. Bayern Munich could easily have scored four goals tonight – they should have scored from three clear-cut chances.
Having said all of the above, Lyon did not make the Champions League Semi-Final by playing well away from home. Their lack of an away goal will not matter if they continue their stunning home form and win next week, in which case, this first leg won’t matter a jot. But, on tonight’s evidence, they have to hope for something dramatic to happen to the cool, calm heads of the Bayern Munich side that controlled affairs today.
Bayern will be disappointed not to have scored more this evening, but happy to be travelling away without conceding an away goal.
Lyon must do better, but are, at least, within touching distance.
On tonight’s evidence, we can expect Bayern to progress next week, but UEFA Champions League ties rarely follow straightforward patterns: which is why we all keep watching them.