Bayern take control
Gomez and Robben strike to condemn Marseille to first-leg defeat
Last Updated: 28/03/12 10:12pm
Bayern Munich celebrate Mario Gomez's opening goal
Bayern Munich took a giant stride towards the UEFA Champions League semi-finals by beating Marseille 2-0 in the first leg of their tie in France on Wednesday night.
Marseille have been on a dismal run of recent form but contained their opponents well until falling behind on the stroke of half-time to Mario Gomez's 11th goal of the tournament.
The French side appealed for handball by Philipp Lahm in the build-up to the chance but only had themselves to blame when third-choice goalkeeper Elinton Andrade failed to keep out a shot from Gomez that was well struck but really should have been saved.
Arjen Robben then doubled Bayern's advantage with a classy goal in the 69th minute as he exchanged passes with Thomas Muller to burst into the area from the right wing, before planting a precise finish into the far corner.
Marseille rarely threatened during the final 20 minutes and now face an uphill task at the Allianz Arena next week if they are to prevent Bayern from setting up a likely meeting with Real Madrid in the last four.
Marseille should have gone in front in the seventh minute when Manuel Neuer produced a brilliant one-handed save diving to his left to keep out Rod Fanni's powerful header from a Mathieu Valbuena corner.
The rebound fell to Loic Remy, who could only slice his effort into the side-netting when it looked easier to score.
The hosts were looking vulnerable at the back, though. Muller hesitated when he got beyond the last defender, eventually choosing to pull the ball back from the by-line when an early shot would have been the better option and his pass evaded everyone in the area.
Neither side were giving likely semi-final opponents Real Madrid any cause for concern, with both squandering possession far too easily.
But Neuer had to be alert again to save from Remy at his near post after the striker had pounced on a poor clearance.
Bayern struggled to seriously test stand-in keeper Andrade until a minute before half-time when his mistake handed them the lead.
With Marseille appealing in vain for a free-kick for handball at the other end, a Bayern counter-attack ended with Robben playing in Gomez. The Germany striker's side-foot shot from the edge of the area was hardly unstoppable or perfectly placed, but still squirmed under Andrade's body and into the net.
The visitors had another opening early in the second half, but Fanni got back to clear the ball off the toes of Muller as he bore down on goal.
Neuer then comfortably held a header from Andre Ayew.
Andrade went a little way to making up for his earlier error by blocking another Gomez shot from inside the area before Remy almost embarrassed Jerome Boateng.
The Marseille man won the ball off the defender on the edge of the area, but his stabbed shot hit Neuer and deflected away.
But Bayern doubled their lead in the 69th minute and, if their first goal was fortunate, this one was beautifully crafted and expertly finished.
Robben played a neat one-two with Muller, breaking into the area from the right as he ran on to the return pass and then sliding a finish into the far corner.
That goal appeared to break the hosts' resolve and they did not look like getting one back to give them hope for the second leg as Bayern saw out a comfortable win.
|Marseille||Team Statistics||FC Bayern München|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|4||Shots on Target||3|
|5||Shots off Target||2|
|40.5||1st Half Poss.||59.5|
|41.9||2nd Half Poss.||58.1|
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UEFA Champions League Group A
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|1||Paris St Germain||6||13|
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|3||FC Viktoria Plzen||6||3|
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|4||FC Steaua Bucuresti||6||3|
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