Bayern in Champions League semifinals despite Benfica draw
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 14, 2016 09:46 AM
Bayern's Arturo Vidal celebrates his side's equalizing goal during the Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match between SL Benfica and Bayern Munich at the Luz stadium in Lisbon Wednesday, April 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Bayern Munich advanced to the semifinals of the Champions League despite being held to a 2-2 draw at Benfica on Wednesday.
The draw in the return leg of their quarterfinal meant Bayern went through 3-2 on aggregate after its 1-0 win at home. Unfancied Benfica made the German club fight till the end, though, as substitute Talisca's curling free kick beat Manuel Neuer in the 76th to make it level on the night.
It's the fifth time running that the German powerhouse, a five-time winner of the competition, has made it through to the semifinals. Benfica was hoping to reach the last four for the first time in 26 years.
In the night's other quarterfinal, Atletico Madrid ousted holder Barcelona with a 2-0 win.
Raul Jimenez's 27th-minute goal, when he met a lobbed pass from Eliseu and beat two defenders to head past Neuer, put Benfica level over the two legs and fired up the Portuguese team.
"You can't believe how hard the Champions League is," said Bayern coach pep Guardiola, who is hoping to repeat the club's feat of winning Europe's top-tier tournament, Bundesliga and German Cup three years ago under Jupp Heynckes. "It's terrible," he said.
Arturo Vidal replied for Bayern in the 38th with his second goal over the two legs. Benfica goalkeeper Ederson pushed out Philipp Lahm's cross as far as the Chile midfielder, who was alone on the edge of the area and fired a shot into the empty goal.
Thomas Mueller, who hadn't scored in his past three games, made it 2-1 for the Bundesliga club on the night with a header in the 52nd.
"I'm happy with the way we stood toe-to-toe with them and took them on over the two games, but I'm not happy with the outcome," Benfica coach Rui Vitoria said. "We've gone out against one of the best teams in the world."
The opening goal unsettled Bayern, and Jimenez — making a rare start for Benfica — had a clear chance to score a few minutes later when the Mexico striker was unmarked in the Bayern area but fluffed his shot.
With the aggregate score level, the match burst into life.
Ederson sprinted off his line to deny Lahm, playing his 103rd Champions League match, but it was the German international who set up Vidal for his crucial goal.
After the restart, Javi Martinez at the back post headed Vidal's corner towards Mueller to make it 2-1.
Douglas Costa hit the Benfica woodwork with a low drive in the 60th, and then Andre Almeida's shot forced a save from Neuer as the home side kept pushing forward.