Fri, Nov 07, 2014 - Page 18 News List

UEFA: Bayern down AS Roma to top Group E and advance

AFP, MUNICH, Germany

Bayern Munich confirmed both their place in the UEFA Champions League knockout phase and their status as Group E winners with two games to spare after Wednesday’s 2-0 win over AS Roma.

Goals by France winger Franck Ribery and Germany’s Mario Goetze sealed the win which put the Bavarians into the round-of-16 with a perfect 12 points so far.

Bayern collected their fourth straight win to give them an unassailable eight-point lead before their remaining group matches at bottom side Manchester City and home to CSKA Moscow next month.

The victory came at a price as leftback David Alaba injured the medial ligament in his knee, with a scan due yesterday, and coach Pep Guardiola expected him to miss the rest of the year.

“It’s a real pity, he’s really important for us, but it looks like he will be out for two or three months and he’ll play again after Christmas,” Guardiola said.

Despite losing to Bayern home and away, Roma are still primed to join Munich in the knockout phase as they stayed second in the group, level on four points with CSKA, who they play away in three weeks.

“We can leave here with our heads held high and that was our goal here,” Roma coach Rudi Garcia said. “I think we canceled out the bad image of the game in Rome. They are a very strong side and they proved it once again.”

As Guardiola had predicted, the hosts encountered a far more robust Roma defense compared with their record 7-1 routing of the Italians in Rome two weeks previously.

Ribery gave Bayern a first-half lead at the Allianz-Arena after 38 minutes having also scored in the first-leg romp.

“It was only a question of time when we would score once we got the game under control,” Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said.

Goetze then netted the second with a goal reminiscent of his World Cup final-winning effort when he flicked on Robert Lewandowski’s second-half cross to put the result beyond doubt after 64 minutes.

Guardiola even had the luxury of resting stars Thomas Mueller, Arjen Robben and Dante.

Roma needed more than 80 minutes to produce a single clear chance, although Bayern still endured a frustrating first 45 minutes, played predominantly in the Italian side’s half, before Ribery struck.

Goetze squandered an early chance just to the left of the goal on 18 minutes, then Bayern captain Philipp Lahm forced Roma goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski into a save on 22 minutes.

Bayern got the breakthrough they had long been threatening when Ribery completed the move he started, curling his shot in off the post.

He released Alaba on the left and the Austrian international produced a superb return pass to find Ribery on the edge of the area as he sprinted onto the ball at pace to give Skorupski no chance.

Bayern kept up the pressure after the break with Juan Bernat firing at Skorupski in the half’s opening exchanges, while Alaba headed over.

Bayern’s second came when Poland striker Lewandowski found his former Borussia Dortmund teammate Goetze in the middle and the attacking midfielder looped his chip over Skoprupski.

Neuer was finally tested in the 84th minute when Roma’s Radja Nainggolan unleashed a fierce drive which forced the Germany goalkeeper into a diving save.

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