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Thomas Mller seals semi-final place as Bayern Munich see off Benfica

Published April 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

Thomas Mller scored the goal that sent Bayern Munich into the Champions League semi-finals with a 3-2 aggregate win against Benfica

Bayern Munich drew 2-2 at Benfica on Wednesday to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the fifth consecutive season with a 3-2 aggregate victory and remain on track for a treble of titles.

Arturo Vidals 38th-minute goal cancelled out the hosts early lead through Ral Jimnezs header.

Bayern added another goal through Thomas Mllers volley from a Javi Martnez header in the 53rd minute to knock out the Portuguese side who managed a late equaliser through Talisca.

Benfica, former European champions, were vying for their first semi-final appearance in more than a quarter of a century but suffered their fourth elimination in their fourth European tie against Bayern.

It was a sensational atmosphere but it was hard work, said the Bayern captain, Philipp Lahm, who played his 103rd Champions League game to become joint leader in Germany along with the former Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.

We had to be more precise than in the first game, close the spaces between midfield and defence and we did it better tonight. We remained calm after the goal and worked hard, Lahm said.

Benfica, missing their top strikers Jonas, Gaitan and Kostas Mitroglou through suspension or injury, were on the back foot as expected with the German club controlling 70% of possession.

Mller had Bayerns first good chance but fired wide after 15 minutes with Benficas double backline working extremely hard.

The hosts struck following a quick break when Eliseu found space to cross from the left and Jimnez charged past two defenders to score with a flying header.

The Mexican went close to adding another but the Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer did well to parry his shot.

Bayern looked briefly rattled by the setback but quickly recovered when Vidal, who scored the winner in the first leg, drilled in the equaliser after perfectly timing his shot from the keeper Edersons clearance.

Pep Guardiola had surprisingly kept Robert Lewandowski on the bench and Mller took over his role, slipping in like a natural centre-forward and volleying in a Martnez assist.

Bayern, also chasing a record fourth successive Bundesliga crown as well as the German Cup, did not let up and Douglas Costas powerful shot hit the post on the hour.

Martnez was lucky not to be sent off for a last-man foul and the Benfica coach Rui Vitoria was sent to the stands over the referees decision to book the Spaniard.

Talisca gave him something to smile about, though, curling the resulting free-kick superbly past Neuer to cap a battling performance against the German giants.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/apr/13/benfica-bayern-munich-champions-league-match-report

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