MUNICH: Substitutes Thiago Alcantara and Kingsley Coman scored extra-time goals as Bayern Munich roared back to beat Juventus 4-2 in their Champions League last 16, second leg on Wednesday and win 6-4 on aggregate. A stunned Bayern found themselves 2-0 down after 28 minutes at the Allianz Arena as Paul Pogba and Juan Cuadrado struck for the Italians before the Bavarians scored four unanswered goals.
Just like in the first leg in Turin, when Bayern threw away a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw, the home side fought back as Robert Lewandowski netted on 73 minutes before Thomas Mueller’s dramatic equalizer in the 91st minute forced extra time. Thiago came off the bench to put Bayern ahead for the first time on 108 minutes before fellow replacement Coman-on loan from Juventus-curled in a superb strike on 110 minutes to put the Bavarians in the quarter-finals for the fifth season in a row.
“That was a crazy game,” said Mueller. “We knew, even when we were 2-0 down, that we were still in it.” Bayern captain Philipp Lahm added: “What an unbelievable evening. You could see how tight things are when two top teams meet each other. We knew it would be all over if we had conceded a third goal.” The fightback keeps alive Pep Guardiola’s dream of bringing the Champions League trophy to Munich at the third and final attempt before his high-profile move to Manchester City next season. This is the seventh time Guardiola has reached the Champions League quarter-finals in as many attempts as a coach at the highest level.
In his four years with Barcelona, he won the title in 2009 and 2011, reaching the semi-finals in 2010 and 2012, while he steered Bayern to the last four in Europe in each of the last two seasons. Much had been made in the build-up about how vulnerable Bayern are on the counter-attack and Guardiola’s side were again found wanting on the break early on as Juventus went ahead with just five minutes gone. The Italians fired a long ball down the right flank, David Alaba mistimed his clearance and right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner tapped the ball to Pogba who swept a shot into the net with Manuel Neuer out of his goal.
Wrong offside call
Alvaro Morata then put the ball in Bayern’s net after chipping Neuer on 22 minutes, but was wrongly flagged offside. However, the Spaniard set up Juve’s second by evading several Bayern defenders on a stunning run from deep in his own half, before finding Cuadrado in space. The Colombian kept his cool to fire past Neuer and leave Bayern with a mountain to climb. It could easily have been 3-0 at the break as Cuadrado hit the post just before the half-time whistle.
Guardiola brought on Juan Bernat at the start of the second half and then introduced Coman for Xabi Alonso on the hour to inject much-needed pace, and the changes paid off. Bayern pulled a goal back when Douglas Costa’s cross from the right was headed home at the back post by Lewandowski, then Coman swung in the cross for Mueller to head home the equalizer. A superb save from Neuer denied Lichtsteiner early in extra time, but Bayern were not to be robbed of a famous comeback victory. Thiago was brought on for Franck Ribery and quickly made an impact as he played a one-two with Mueller before guiding the ball into the bottom corner with a superb finish.
And the comeback was complete when Frenchman Coman broke down the right, shifted the ball onto his left foot and curled his shot around the despairing Gianluigi Buffon to knock last season’s finalists out. “Football results depend on chances,” said Juve’s captain Buffon. “They attacked a lot in the second half and took advantage of their chances. “It’s always a pity to concede a goal in the last minute of a game, but I’m proud of my team. “We are going out with our heads held high.”- AFP