Champions League: Bayern Hold Sevilla To Progress

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Bayern Munich ground out a 0-0 draw to see off Sevilla’s spirited challenge and reach the Champions League semi-finals with a 2-1 aggregate win. The newly crowned Bundesliga champions, who won their past two home games 6-0, needed defensive grit to match their usual attacking flair at a sold-out Allianz Arena. Sevilla defender Joaquin Correa, who was sent off in added time, hit the bar with a header and midfielder Pablo Sarabia, who scored in the first leg, wasted a glorious first-half chance. But Bayern top-scorer Robert Lewandowski had a header pushed over the crossbar by goalkeeper David Soria and a brilliant block from Sevilla’s Jesus Navas denied Franck Ribery. It was the first time in 22 home Champions League matches that Bayern had failed to score. Sevilla defender Gabriel Mercado, replacing injured centre-back Simon Kjaer, was lucky to stay on the pitch after bringing down Lewandowski when he split the visiting defence in the second minute. But Vincenzo Montella’s side recovered to control the first half, even if they were ultimately frustrated, none more so than Correa, who slid in wildly on Javi Martinez to earn a red card. Bayern winger Arjen Robben had warned his team-mates against complacency in this game after winning the first leg 2-1 in Spain. But it was less a case of Bayern’s over-confidence and more Sevilla’s self-belief and command of the ball which kept this compelling encounter in the balance for so long. Sevilla are seventh in La Liga but have been a surprise package in the Champions League, and they surprised everyone by having more possession than their illustrious hosts in the first half – 54% to 46%. Sarabia, who missed a good chance before scoring in the first leg, wasted another opportunity and Bayern left-back Rafinha slid in to prevent the midfielder shooting again. Bayern, who worked Soria sporadically in the first half, stepped it up after the break as Lewandowski headed into the side netting at the far post and Robben threatened. But the hosts lacked their usual sparkle and Lewandowski – bloodied from a clash of heads – was substituted in the 77th minute after drawing a rare blank in front of goal. Boss Jupp Heynckes had to settle for the consolation of Bayern’s 100th clean sheet at home in European competitions. Montella’s side won many admirers, even if they came up short of delivering another quarter-final upset after Roma stunned Barcelona on Tuesday.
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