Thu, Feb 21, 2013 - Page 20 News List

Bayern cruise to win over Arsenal

‘ASTONISHING FORM’:Bayern capitalized on Arsenal’s inept defense and showed form maybe second only to Barcelona while putting the hosts all but out of contention

AP, LONDON

With Kroos, Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger dominating midfield with their hulking presence and Arsenal’s passing awry all over the pitch, the four-time European champions were in cruise control with barely a quarter of the match gone.

Arsenal’s players were losing their heads — Bacary Sagna and Mikel Arteta picked up petulant bookings — and they were jeered off at halftime as Bayern fans belted out another rendition of Football’s Coming Home in English.

Wenger, under serious pressure for perhaps the first time in his tenure, had the look of a beaten man.

However, things looked up at the start of the second half and Podolski capped a period of gentle Arsenal pressure by heading into an empty net after Wilshere’s inswinging corner evaded a raft of players in the six-yard box — including flapping Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Wilshere was finally making his presence felt and Bayern’s early spark faded as Arsenal monopolized possession. Olivier Giroud, on as a 71st-minute substitute, shot straight at Neuer in Arsenal’s other good chance.

However, Bayern had the last laugh when Mandzukic finished a sweeping move by bundling in -Lahm’s low cross at the far post, the ball looping up off the Croatian’s heel and beyond Szczesny.

“There’s always a chance — we take it to their place and we need a few goals,” Wilshere said. “We have the players to do it, we just have to start better.”

Schweinsteiger will miss the second leg after picking up a second-half booking.

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