Bayern set record by trouncing Sporting; Liverpool beat Real

February 26th, 2009 - 4:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Bayern MunichHamburg, Feb 26 (DPA) Former champions Bayern Munich and Liverpool took giant steps toward the quarter-finals of the Champions League by winning their first-leg matches away from home in the round of 16.
The German champions made history Wednesday with the biggest ever away victory margin in the Champions League by trouncing Sporting Lisbon 5-0, while Liverpool managed a 1-0 win at Real Madrid.

There was a victory on the night for Chelsea, who beat Juventus 1-0, while the final game between Villarreal and Panathinaikos ended in a 1-1 draw.

Bayern, who went into the game on the back of a miserable start to the second half of the Bundesliga side and lost 2-1 at home to Cologne on the weekend, started much stronger in Lisbon.

Although they still had problems creating chances in the first half, their defence stood tall, and somewhat against the run of play Franck Ribery gave the visitors the lead three minutes from the break after claiming the ball close to the centre line.

The French international ran through the Sporting half, evaded two markers and waved away Italian striker Luca Toni, opting to shoot himself, and he made no mistake, slotting past Sporting goalkeeper Tiago.

Bayern added a second in the 57th minute when Germany striker Miroslav Klose stole past his marker and pushed a long cross from Massimo Oddo over the goalline. As Toni just touched the ball with his head before it came to Klose, the scorer was in an offside position, but referee Bertrand Layec gave the goal.

Worse was to follow for Sporting as Fabio Rochemback brought down Germany defender Philipp Lahm in the area just five minutes later, and Ribery made no mistake from the spot to make it 3-0.

Late in the game, Toni added two more with Ribery providing the assists in both cases to totally humiliate the home side.

Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann said that even though he was proud of his side, they needed to concentrate on their next game.

“I am hopeful that this has given the side a boost ahead of our next game in the Bundesliga,” he said.

“I am confident that the players will not get carried away by this result. The team can be proud of their game in Lisbon, but we now need to concentrate on the Bundesliga.”

Bayern captain Mark van Bommel also that the victory was great but means little if they don’t follow it up with a good game in the Bundesliga.

“After the win, there was no euphoria amongst the players in the change rooms. On Sunday we have an important Bundesliga match, and we are looking towards that. We played a good game and made it very difficult for them to get through.”

In London, Chelsea stand-in coach Guus Hiddink, who Saturday took the Blues to victory against Aston Villa in his first game in charge, sent an attacking formation onto the field against Juventus.

It took the home side just 12 minutes to open the scoring when Salomon Kalou split the Juventus defence and found Didier Drogba in space, and the Cote d’Ivoire international made no mistake, beating Gianluigi Buffon from close range.

Surprisingly, Chelsea then allowed Juventus back into the game and could have easily conceded an equalizer, but somehow held on for their 1-0 victory.

Chelsea’s German midfielder Michael Ballack, who was lucky not to be sent off after a second bookable offence, said that he was happy with the result.

“The game was very tactical. After we went ahead so early in the game we should have relaxed more, but we sat behind too much. It was very important that we did not concede a goal,” he said.

“We have a good chance for the return leg, and we will certainly go to Turin looking for our chances. We can always score away from home. It will be a hard match, but we will have our chances.”

The eagerly awaited clash between former winners Real Madrid and Liverpool failed to live up to its top-billing as neither side managed to find any way through their opponents’ compact defences.

It was only late in the second half that Liverpool finally managed the breakthrough, when Israeli international Yossi Benayoun headed in the only goal of the match from an Alvaro Arbeloa free-kick.

The other Spanish side in action on the night, Villarreal, enjoyed most of the play against Greek visitors Panathinaikos but failed to find the back of the net in the first half.

They were made to pay for their misses in the second half as Georgios Karagounis beat goalkeeper Diego Lopez with a speculative, long-range shot on the hour to give Panathinaikos the lead.

After the break, Villarreal continued going forward in search of an equalizer, and their chance came in the 66th minute when Robert Pires was brought down by Jakub Wawrzyniak and Austrian referee Konrad Plautz pointed to the spot, from where Giuseppe Rossi made no mistake.

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