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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Manuel Neuer Inspires Bayern to Victory over Arsenal

German No.1 keeper, Manuel Neuer saved Mesut Ozil’s first half penalty and was peerless between the posts for Bayern Munich who crushed Arsenal’s hope of progressing from the Champions league knockout stages.

The former Schalke man showed just why he’s considered the best goalkeeper in the world when he thwarted Arsenal’s incessant attacks during the first quarter of the game. The Gunners were the quickest off the blocks troubling the Bavarians backline early on but they failed to beat Neuer who made stunning saves from Yaya Sanogo and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain but it was the save from Ozil’s spot kick that was the toast of his stunning display against Arsenal.

The turning point of the game, however, came in the 37th minute when Wojciech Szczesny brought down Arjen Robben in the box and Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli not only awarded Bayern a penalty but sent the Poland custodian to the dressing room. Up stepped David Alaba who sent substitute keeper Lukasz Fabianski the wrong way but his effort hit the far post and went out wide.

The Bundesliga leaders controlled proceedings henceforth but could not breach the Gunners defence as the teams went for the breather deadlocked at 0-0.

Bayern coach Pep Guardiola’s first move at the interval was to withdraw Jerome Boateng for Rafinha as he pumped attacking vigor into the front line. It took barely 10 minutes after the interval for the defending champions to take the lead, Toni Kroos curling in beautifully from outside the penalty area to give his team a priceless away goal.

It was evident the English side were suffering from their one-man disadvantage as they barely got off their own half, Bayern zipping passes from left to right leaving the Gunners chasing shadows. Fabianski was forced into pulling top drawer saves from Robben and Kroos before substitute Thomas Muller connected with a cross from Philip Lahm to give the Germans their second goal on the night.

Two could have been three had Kroos’ rattling shot not hit the post but Arsene Wenger and his men would only concede the two which sees their hopes of qualifying to the last 8 hanging by a thread.

Bayern won a treble last year and based on this result against Arsenal, they look well on course to achieve a similar feat. They are 16 points ahead of the chasing park for the Bundesliga title and will face FC Kaiserslautern in the semi finals of the German Cup.

Meanwhile in Milan, Diego Costa struck in the 83rd minute to give Atletico Madrid a vital 1-0 win and away goal against AC Milan. Milan created the best chances of the game but failed to beat an inspired Thibaut Courtois between the posts for the Spaniards who will feel confident to progress to the quarters when they welcome Milan at the Vicente Calderon in the return leg in three weeks time.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!