Who says lightening cant strike twice? After scraping past Fiorentina on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate result in the previous round Bayern Munich repeated the feat again last night coming back from 3-0 down at Old Trafford to advance to the Champions League semi final in identical fashion. Even more ironic was that once again Arron Robben popped up with what would prove to be the decisive goal, just as he did in the previous round.
In the first half Manchester United looked by far the better team as they swept into a 3-0 lead thanks to an early goal by up and coming Northern Irish midfielder Darron Gibson and two goals from defender Patrice Evra. The only blemish on what was a quite stunning early performance was the booking of Rafael Da Silva and up until the 43rd minute only an eternal optimist would have given Bayern any chance of progressing.
However in the space of 15 minutes things changed dramatically. First Ivica Olic took advantage of some sloppy defending by Michael Carrick and somehow managed to slot the ball home from an acute angle just before halftime to give Bayern some faint hope, and then in a some what controversial moment just after half time Rafael Da Silva hauled back Ribery and the referee, surrounded by protesting Bayern players decided to send him off for a second bookable offence.
Down to 10 men was bad enough but when Wayne Rooney left the pitch 5 minutes latter things looked bleak. From there is was largely wave after wave of Bayren attacks and it was no surprise when Arron Robben scored the decisive goal with a beautifully struck volley.
After the match Alex Ferguson was highly critical of the Bayern players actions, which he thinks contributed to the sending off which did change the course of the game. However given the similar conduct of his own players in many past matches he really has no real grounds to complain as haranguing the referee is now unfortunately part of the game. Bayern will now be aiming to emulate Manchester United’s 1999 achievement and win their version of the Treble; they are currently top of the Bundesliga and through to the German Cup Final.
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