Saturday, November 26, 2022

Villarreal Knock Bayern Munich Out Of The Champion’s League

Villarreal reached the last four of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) for the first time since 2006, as a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena was enough to defeat Bayern Munich 2-1 on aggregate.

Bayern’s attacking intent was made clear from the start, as a tactical tweak saw Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sané deployed as wing-backs. Aiming to overturn the aggregate deficit, Julian Nagelsmann’s decision almost worked early on, with Sané’s volley forcing a save from Gerónimo Rulli. Despite their dominance, Bayern were unable to truly trouble Unai Emery’s men, who whilst spending most of the half camped in their own penalty area, limited the hosts to a hatful of chances, the best of which saw Jamal Musiala send a weak header goalwards.

Like the first leg, Villarreal’s plan was to spring into life on the counter-attack, and they should have moved further ahead in the tie, with Arnaut Danjuma and Gerrard Moreno both wasteful. The ‘Yellow Submarine’ were almost punished just a minute after the break, with Rulli perhaps fortunate as he denied Musiala with a clumsy tackle inside the area. Perhaps that moment started a period of panic in the visitors’ backline, and after Dayot Upamecano struck over from close range, Robert Lewandowski took advantage of some sloppy defending to put Bayern ahead on the night, and level the tie on aggregate. Assisted by Thomas Müller’s pass, he spun before coolly poking past Rulli with a composed finish that flicked off the post on its way in. It was another mark of the quality possessed by Lewandowski, a player who has now netted 13 times in this season’s UCL.

Bayern might have then grabbed the all important second goal, but Müller, unmarked and no more than eight yards out, could only send Sané’s delicious cross wide. The chances continued to come for the German giants, but after Coman almost grabbed the winner, Villareal broke clinically in the 87th minute. Bursting down the left, Moreno set up Samuel Chukwueze, who thrashed to ball past Manuel Neuer to see Emery take a side into the semi-finals of the UCL for the first time in his managerial career, leaving the six-time winners on the wrong end of a successive quarter-final exit.

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