Sun, Aug 26, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Bayern win season opener over Hoffenheim

Reuters, BERLIN

Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski shoots a penalty-kick in their Bundesliga match against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in Munich, Germany, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Champions Bayern Munich on Friday scored twice in the final eight minutes to beat visiting TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 3-1 in the Bundesliga premiere and hand new coach Niko Kovac a winning league debut.

Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski netted a controversially awarded penalty in the 82nd minute, after he had to retake his spot-kick, and Arjen Robben fired in the third goal from close range in the 90th as Hoffenheim ran out of steam.

Thomas Mueller put the hosts ahead with a glancing header in the 23rd minute, but Adam Szalai leveled with a fine low shot in the 57th for fellow UEFA Champions League club Hoffenheim.

There was some bad news for Bayern, who have won the past six Bundesliga titles, after midfielder Kingsley Coman was taken off with what looked like an ankle problem in his first league game since a ligament injury in February.

“It was a deserved victory ... but it is clear it was not as easy as it looked in the end,” Kovac told reporters. “We have to be able to play well over 90 minutes, but I am still happy with the 60-65 minutes today.”

Kovac, who succeeded Jupp Heynckes, surprisingly put Germany international Mats Hummels on the bench and partnered Jerome Boateng with Niklas Suele in central defense.

Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer made his first league appearance in 11 months as the hosts started brightly, looking to make amends for a lackluster performance in their 1-0 DFB Pokal win over amateurs Drochtersen/Assel last week.

Mueller was given too much space in the box and headed in a corner to give the champions an early lead.

Hoffenheim came close to an equalizer, but Joelinton’s effort sailed narrowly wide before Bayern saw Coman helped off the field with what looked like an injury to his left ankle.

The Frenchman had missed several months due to injury last season.

He was yesterday to undergo medical checks, Kovac said.

To make matters worse for Bayern, the visitors then scored with Szalai’s solo effort and looked for a winner.

A controversial penalty given for a foul on Franck Ribery gave Lewandowski, last season’s Bundesliga top scorer, the chance to get onto the score sheet.

“I would not have given it,” Kovac said of the penalty, while Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann was left fuming, because the referee did not use the video assistant referee.

Lewandowski’s first effort was saved and Robben scored from the rebound, only to be ruled to have entered the area too early.

The Poland striker retook the spot-kick and sent Oliver Baumann the wrong way before Dutchman Robben sealed the victory.

LIGUE 1

AFP, PARIS

Nabil Fekir on Friday made his first appearance of the new Ligue 1 season as Olympique Lyonnais bounced back from last week’s surprise loss to Stade de Reims by seeing off Strasbourg 2-0.

Bruno Genesio’s men eased to their second victory from as many league home matches this term thanks to goals from Martin Terrier and Bertrand Traore, while Fekir, who saw a move to Liverpool fall through, played the final 11 minutes.

The home side took the lead shortly before halftime as fullback Ferland Mendy slipped through a perfect pass for Terrier, who spent last season on loan at Strasbourg, to curl into the bottom corner.

Former Chelsea forward Traore wrapped up the win in style with a fantastic individual goal in the 64th minute, latching onto Memphis Depay’s ball before dribbling past visiting goalkeeper Matz Sels and a backtracking defender to slot in.

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