UEFA Champions League
Estádio Da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal
Bayern Munich progressed into the Semi-finals of the Champions League after a 2-2 draw with Benfica at the Estádio Da Luz. Goals from Arturo Vidal and Thomas Müller added to Vidal’s goal in the first-leg to beat the Portuguese champions 3-2 on aggregate.
Raúl Jiménez put the hosts in front before the Bavarians scored either side of the break. That was before substitute Anderson Talisca curled home a brilliant freekick 14 minutes from time, but it wasn’t enough.
The visitors started well and dominated possession and went close to extending their aggregate lead when A Philipp Lahm cross found Müller who volleyed inches wide of the post under-pressure from Victor Lindelöf in the 18th minute.
Three minutes later they went close again. Thiago Alcántara’s first-time ball found Vidal but his header was easy for Ederson.
Six minutes later the hosts took a surprise lead. Eliseu was given far too much space and the Portuguese international obliged, sending in a fantastic cross-field pass that caught Manuel Neuer in no-man’s-land. Jiménez sneaked in ahead of the apparent world number one keeper to bravely head home into the unguarded net.
The goal came against the run of play but since the goal, Benfica were in the ascendancy. Despite missing significant absentees in Jonas and Kostas Mitroglou, Jiménez was leading the line and should have doubled their lead two minutes later. André Almeida did well to cut the ball back to Jiménez whose first-touch was poor and his toe-poked finish was relatively easy for Neuer who gathered at the second-attempt, who should have been troubled more.
Nine minutes later the visitors took full advantage. Douglas Costa did well to find Lahm with a good reverse pass and the full-back’s dangerous cross was palmed away by Ederson into the path of Vidal, who powerfully volleyed home into the top-corner of the unguarded net from just outside the area. Benfica now needed two.
Six minutes later the Chilean almost got his second of the game and his third in the tie. Xabi Alonso wonderfully picked out his central midfield partner, who controlled the ball well on his chest before firing over on the volley.
Seven minutes into the restart the visitors extended their lead. Benfica tried to play offside from a corner and the German side capitalised. The hosts stepped up from Martínez’s flicked-on header and Müller sprung the offside trap to volley home from close-range and all but send Bayern Munich into the last-four.
Seven minutes later the visitors very nearly made it three. Costa surged forward before curling an effort that struck the outside of the far-post from a tight-angle.
Two minutes later the hosts went close to reducing the deficit when Almeida drove a shot from outside the area, forcing Neuer into a save – tipping the ball over the bar.
Soon after the hosts had a good opportunity when Mehdi Carcela-González won a freekick in a good position. Substitute Gonçalo Guedes stepped up to take it but his effort curled over the bar.
Five minutes later the visitors had the ball in the back of the net but it was chalked off as David Alaba was in an offside position.
In the 71st minute the visitors nearly made it three in calamitous fashion. Müller found Vidal whose effort that should have been saved comfortably, was spilled by Ederson with the ball rolling just the wrong side of the post.
Two minutes later the visitors should have been reduced to ten men when substitute Guedes beat Martínez. The Spaniard, the last man, cynically brought the Portuguese youngster down, who would have been clean through on-goal. However the referee somehow gave the Spaniard a yellow card and gave Benfica’s manager Rui Vitória his marching orders instead for voicing his frustrations at the decision.
However justice was momentarily done as substitute Talisca curled the resulting freekick into the top-corner beyond Neuer to level the scores on the night and give Benfica a glimmer of hope. Had Martínez seen red, it possibly could have transformed that hope into a possibility for the hosts.
Benfica needed two now and eight minutes later the hosts very nearly started believing when a Talisca freekick curled inches wide of the far-post.
Four minutes later the visitors should have added another to make sure of the result. Substitute Robert Lewandowski was played through, but with just Ederson to beat the Polish international could only fire straight at the Brazilian keeper.
There were three additional minutes and in the final one of those, the hosts almost pulled one back. Two substitutes combined as Talisca found Luka Jović who did well to control the ball, before firing an effort on the half-volley that Neuer made light work of. It was just too little too late for the hosts as the referee blew his whistle to bring the tie to an end.
The Eagles were knocked out by one of the tournament favourites despite putting in quite a spirited performance whilst their opponents progressed into the last-four for the fifth consecutive season.