A great night of football with Bayern Munich v Inter Milan the pick of the two. Both teams went all out for the win and it made for a great game of football. Not a very advertisement for defending but great viewing for entertainment. In the United game there may not have been as much excitement but still a good game was to be seen, with Rooney and Hernandez showing what their partnership has to offer Sir Alex Ferguson.
Manchester United 2 – Marseille 1 (2-1 on aggregate)
Manchester United could not have dreamed for a better start taking the lead through Hernandez on the 4th minute. Rooney was the architect of the move firstly putting a diagonal ball over to Giggs on the from the centre of the park. He stormed forward to get into the box, with no one picking up his run, Giggs held up the ball well until Rooney was free. Rooney took one touch be fore drilling low across goal where Hernandez was well placed to tap it into the open goal. Hernandez was not lucky to be in the right place, as you can see that he starts and stops his movement in such a delibatre way, he is reading the ball all the time.
Marseille had a great chance to draw level and put the tie it their favour when Ayew brilliantly flicked the ball over O’Shea and Smalling for Gignac to run onto, with all the time in the world to choose his shot he did terribly deciding to try and side foot it into the corner, but his shot missed the target completely. He should have controlled it and smashed it home, or even laced it on the volley. Marseille were not helping themselves when Mandanda’s kick went straight to Nani. Rooney came in on the overlap and Nani laid it off to him. Rooney tried to pull it back but in the end it was cleared, a good chance, but very sloppy from the Marseille goalkeeper. John O’Shea went off injured with a hamstring injury which was sustained when Paul Scholes put in a cross field pass and O’Shea chased it down. He crossed, but it didn’t reach anyone and Marseille broke on the counter which led to a corner. With O’Shea off getting treatment United where lacking his height for the corner, and Marseille should have taken advantage of that but were wasteful. Cheyrou played it short to Taiwo who whipped in the cross and Diawara was free to header it. He ran onto it and powered it well, but lacked any direction and from 6 yards out really should have made Van der Sar worry. Rafael was O’Shea’s replacement. Bruno Cheyrou had a good shot with his left saved by Van der Sar, it didn’t trouble the goalkeeper too much, but tested him none the less. United went on the attack from Van der Sar’s throw. Rooney touched it to Giggs and then ran into the space on the left. Giggs again did well to hold up the ball before releasing it back to Rooney. Rooney cut into the box and shot, but Mandanda saved easily, but Hernandez was in the 6 yard box, ready for any rebound. United had another chance when they broke away from Marseille corner, with Nani carrying the ball forward before he released it to Giggs on the left. Giggs put the ball into the box for Hernandez, but he fell over Taiwo leg. No penalty was given, and if it was given you may say it was harsh, but understand it was given. Marseille too had a chance to score but Loic Remy couldn’t keep his volley down and it went over. When the ball was whipped in Smalling didn’t clear in well enough, it looked more like it hit him and bounced clear than any deliberate attempt to clear the ball and with the ball falling to him Remy shot from inside the penalty area and it went screaming over.
Marseille had a chance when from a free kick Ayew flicked on the ball fro Gignac to run onto, but Van der Sar came out and gathered it bravely, getting a kick in the head for his troubles. The second half saw the inclusion of Valencia coming on for Nani, making his second appearance since his injury. Marseille were again wasteful, this time it was Gabriel Heinze who’s header went wayward, and then soon after Cheyrou was denied by Van der Sar again. Remy shot the cross into the box and Cheyrou who side footed it with his right. The shot was on target but Van der Sar had quick reflexes and was down quick to save it. Marseille were made to pay for their inability to take their chances when Manchester United scored again with Hernandez from just outside the 6 yard box scored. Giggs received the ball from the throw-in and passed it to Valencia who dribbled in field slightly before feeding in Giggs who crossed it low first time into the box for Hernandez to score. Again Hernandez wasn’t lucky to be there, he timed it brilliantly anticipating the movement of the defender and of the ball.
Marseille did get a goal back when Wes Brown put the ball into his own net. The corner was curled it well and caused problems as Heinze Rafael and Brown all came together to win the ball, and in the end it was Brown’s head that sent it in. Scholes was on the line and tried to clear it, but when he connected with the ball, it was already over the line. Marseille tried to get the goal they needed to go through but were unable to do so and were left to rue the chances they missed to go through, with Gignac, Diawara and Heinze left with something to think about. With the game over and United through, Van der Sar and Wes Brown where able to joke coming off the field.
Bayern Munich 2 – Inter Milan 2 (3-3 on aggregate)
An expolisive start to an explosive game came when Eto’o scored on the 4th minute giving them the lead in the game and drawing the game on aggregate. Stankovic have it to Pandev who the fed it to Eto’o who seemed to be majonally offside, and slipped it under the keepers legs. Bayern were quick looking for a reply and when Mueller found Ribery he shot, but was blocked by Lucio. Ribery was again a threat as he slipped in Gomez but Julio Cesar blocked his shot. Bayern were pilling on the pressure and thanks to Ranocchia, who injured himself, blocked and gave away a corner, which he stayed off for receiving treatment. Nothing came off the corner. The home side were starting to gain some dominance in the game, and always looked threatening when on the attack, some great play in the attacking midfielder was producing some nice football, but no goal. Inter had their chances to attack and as the game went on both teams’ defence looked shaky, and it was Bayern who took full opportunity when Gomez scored to give Munich the lead. Robben received the ball on the right flank and went one way then another before he cut inside of Chivu and shot from outside of the box with a nice curling shot. Though it was on target it really was an easy save for Julio Cesar to make, but somehow he fluffed the catch and Gomez was there to pounce. Gomez did well to score as it wasn’t an easy tap in, with the ball in the air and Cesar chasing it down, with his back to goal Gomez knocks into behind home into the net. The on-rushing defenders were unable to stop it. After that mistake Robben was happy to try his luck as he once again cut inside from the right to shot again, but this time Cesar is able to save. Cesar was again in the thick of it when he saved Gomez’s shot at the near post. Gustavo carried the ball forward with no pressure put on him from the Inter midfield and passed it to Gomez who skilfully made the space to get his shot away. Robben really started to come into the game with his runs he was a constant pain to Inter, and was linking up well with Gomez. But it was Mueller who got Bayern second of the match. Robben was again involved buy this time he was on the left. Robben received the ball from Schweinsteiger and cut in going past Cambiasso with ease. Robben tried to find Gomez but the ball was poorly intercepted goal wards and Mueller took on touch with his outside right to control and then another outside right to lift it over Cesar. A cool and calm finish by the youngster. Bayern could have gone 3-1 up on the night when Ribery was through on goal but was denied by Cesar. Ribery back heeled the looping ball first time towards Robben who again was on the left who then laid it off to Schweinstiger who put it down the line to Ribery. Ribery first touch was to flicked it over the sliding inter players leg. He was clean through on goal and maybe took one touch to many, but Cesar had time to close him down and maybe should have tried to go round Cesar but he decided to shot but Julio Cesar saved with the ball just going over landing on the roof of the net. Bayern again almost scored, and was agonisingly close when Ribery lofted the ball in and with Cesar and Gomez chasing it Gomez connected with it while sliding for it, where as Cesar diving for it missed it and it went under his arms. The angle was tight and Gomez did amazingly to get it on target even though he was 4 yards out. The span goalwards and maybe if it was spinning the other direction it would have gone in, but with the ball travelling along the line Mueller and Ronacchia both stormed forward and slid for it with Ranocchia. The replays show just how close the goal was as Ranocchia had got there first but the ball was flicked onto Mueller’s foot, but it went off his foot and onto the post and Cesar smothered it. Ribery and Robben were linking up well and with a couple of passes just outside the box. A poor clearance put the ball into Robben feet but when he shot it was into the side netting, another great chance went begging for Bayern. Ex- Bayern defender Lucio then presented Munich with a great chance when instead clearing the ball tried to skill his way out of his out box, but with Robben and Mueller on him, Bayern regained possession. When the ball fell to Ribery he shot but it was blocked but Ribery was offside anyway.
Bayern continued their attacking dominance and still looked dangerous with Ribery being a real threat. With only five minutes gone and seeing no chance by his side, Leonardo decided to make a chance and brought on Coutinho for Stankovic. Munich came close to scoring again when Mueller passed to Ribery on the left, but with Lucio making him he passed it back before regaining the ball from a nice pass by Schweinstiger. Ribery went past Cambiasso and crossed it to Gomez who just inside the penalty box and unmarked. Gomez had enough time to square up and hit a great volley, but it was straight at Cesar but he did well to save it. With Coutinho on, Inter started to play with 3 up front, Coutinho on the left, Eto’o on the right with Pandev down the middle. And that tactical decision soon paid dividends when Inter scored to make it 2-2. Eto’o passed to Pandev with a nice first time pass while the ball was in the air. Pandev held up the ball before laying it off to Sneijder who passed it first time to Coutinho. Coutinho kept the ball before passing to Eto’o who was in space on the right. The first touch wasn’t his best as it flicked up and there was a big cry from the fans of handball, but not by the players, as it hit his stomach. Eto’o second touch was a pass to Sneijder who shot first time beating Kraft. There was a very lazy attempt at a block by Schweinstiger who lifted his foot. it clipped it, but not enough to change its path. Maybe he could have done more there. With that goal Inter seemed to gain belief that they could go on and win the game and the tie and came close to scoring again with Goran Pandev. Sneijder put in a great ball fro Pandev who did brilliantly to control it with his chest and the make the space to shot, but unfortunately he couldn’t keep his shot down as he was leaning back as he shot and it went over. Inter has another chance when Cambiasso flicked it over to Sneijder, but Sneijder’s shot went wide. Some nice played from Sneijder and Eto’o saw Sneijder get a chance to shot, but his shot straight at Pandev who couldn’t get out of the way. Inter did get the goal they wanted when Sneijder put the ball down the line for Coutinho, it was too far for him, but Eto’o who was already forward collected it doing well in not letting Breno get there first. Eto’o dribbled across the box before he laid it off for the on coming Pandev who smashed it into the top left hand corner. Inter player’s fans and especially management were ecstatic. With Leonardo on the floor celebrating. Bayern only needed to score one goal, and they went on the look for it, but where unable to. They had so many chances when they were 2-1 up to score, and had many chances to create goal scoring opportunities, that they will now regret not fully taking them. On the night Bayern deserved to go through, but should have put the tie past Inter but have paid the cost, and so the Current Champions of Europe go into the next round along with Manchester United, Barcelona and Tottenham.