Toni and Bayern break Spanish hearts in epic encounter

April 11th, 2008 - 12:50 pm ICT by admin  

Hamburg, April 11 (DPA) Bayern Munich twice came back from the dead against Getafe in an astonishing UEFA Cup quarterfinal tie that saw the Bundesliga leaders pull out all the stops to eventually progress on the away goals rule after extra time. First Franck Ribery saved Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side with a last-minute effort in regular time Thursday night and then a brace from Luca Toni in the final five minutes of extra time saw an incredible encounter finish 3-3 on the night and 4-4 on aggregate.

Bayern’s narrow away goals win sets up a semi-final clash against Zenit St Petersburg. The Russians lost 1-0 at home to Bayer Leverkusen but progressed 4-2 on aggregate while Glasgow Rangers and Fiorentina meet in the other semi after 2-0 wins against Sporting Lisbon and PSV Eindhoven respectively.

But without a doubt, the match of this year’s UEFA Cup so far took place at the Coliseo Alfonso Perez in Madrid’s unfashionable southern suburbs where the home fans ran a roller coaster of emotions before going home stunned having witnessed a shattering defeat.

Playing in front of a 17,000-capacity crowd for the first time in the stadium’s 10-year existence, Getafe were confident of causing a shock after forcing a valuable 1-1 draw in Munich in the first leg.

But Getafe’s task was made all the more difficult after just six minutes when Ruben De la Red received his marching orders for a last-man tackle on Miroslav Klose.

Bayern almost went in front two minutes later but Ribery’s shot came back of the post and Toni’s subsequent score was disallowed as the Italian striker controlled the ball with his hand before firing home.

Defender Christian Lell also had a glorious chance to put the Bundesliga leaders in front on 38 minutes but the defender skewed his shot wide with the goal gaping.

A minute before the break, and against the run of play, Getafe took a shock lead through Cosmin Costa, who ran virtually unchallenged into the Bayern penalty area before unleashing an unstoppable shot past goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.

The second half continued with Getafe under the cosh with Toni having another goal disallowed before Klose also went close.

Incredibly, the Spanish side had a glorious chance to double their lead when substitute Braulio found himself one on one against Kahn but he slipped when all that remained was to sidefoot the ball home.

Bayern became more and more desperate, bringing on Lukas Podolski for Ze Roberto and Jose Sosa for Bastian Schweinsteiger but the 10-men of Getafe looked like they were going hold out until Ribery’s late late strike.

Two further goals for Getafe from Casquero and Braulio within two minutes of the first period of extra time looked to have turned the tie on its head before Toni popped up with two of his own, the second coming in the last minute of the second period of extra time, to break Getafe hearts.

“We forced a victory out of this game,” said Hitzfeld, who compared the game to Bayern’s famous Champions League final against Manchester United when his side conceded two late goals to lose 2-1.

“I always believe that anything is possible,” he said.

With no teams remaining in the Champions League, Fiorentina kept the Italian flag flying in Europe, eliminating PSV Eindhoven thanks to a brace from Adrian Mutu.

PSV held the advantage thanks to the away goal scored by Danny Koevermans in the 1-1 draw in the first leg but paid the price for sitting back when Mutu slammed home an unstoppable shot from 25 minutes seven minutes before the break.

Mutu netted his second of the game and sixth of the tournament on 52 minutes when PSV goalkeeper Gomes parried the ball into his path and the Romanian calmly slotted the ball into the empty net from 20 metres to make it 2-0 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate. Timmy Simons missed a penalty to complete PSV’s miserable night.

Having played out a scoreless draw in Glasgow a week ago, Rangers went into their match against Sporting Lisbon expecting a rough ride.

Instead, second half goals from Jean-Claude Darcheville and Steven Whittaker secured a deserved victory.

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