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Lyon, Bayern Munich reach Champions League semi-finals

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2010-04-08

Lyon reached the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in their history despite losing 1-0 (3-2 on agg.) to Bordeaux, while Bayern Munich scraped through after losing 3-2 (4-4 on agg.) to 10-man Manchester United.

Bayern Munich staged a stunning fightback to send 10-man Manchester United crashing out of the Champions League as Arjen Robben's late strike in the German side's 3-2 defeat earned a 4-4 aggregate draw which put them through to the semi-finals on away goals.

Louis van Gaal's side, who led 2-1 from last week's quarter-final first leg, looked dead and buried as Darron Gibson's strike and two fine finishes from Nani put United 4-2 ahead on aggregate before half-time at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

But Ivica Olic reduced the deficit just before the break and United defender Rafael da Silva gifted van Gaal's team a significant break when he foolishly earned a second yellow card early in the second half.

Bayern went for the kill and former Chelsea winger Robben's brilliant finish was enough to secure a semi-final showdown with French club Lyon and end United's bid for a third successive final appearance.

After losing the lead in the Premier League to Chelsea at the weekend, United are now in danger of ending the season with just the League Cup to show for their efforts.

With Dimitar Berbatov's lacklustre performance against Chelsea still fresh in the memory, perhaps it was no surprise that Ferguson was willing to risk Wayne Rooney as United tried to overturn a first leg defict for only the second time in seven attempts in the Champions League.

While United had their star man back from an ankle injury, it was Republic of Ireland international Gibson who gave United a dream start in the third minute.

Rafael started the move by streaking away from Franck Ribery before picking out Rooney. The England forward laid off a perfect first-time pass into Gibson's path and, as the Bayern defenders backed off, the youngster lashed a fierce strike past flast-footed Bayern goalkeeper Hans-Jorg Butt for his first ever Champions League goal.

Bayern had barely recovered from that sucker-punch when they were hit by another blow as Nani doubled United's lead.

In the seventh minute, United winger Antonio Valencia teased Holger Badstuber on the right edge of the Bayern penalty area before whipping over a low cross to Nani, who timed his run pefectly and deceived Butt with a superb back-heeled flick into the far corner.

United were dominant at that stage but Bayern wasted a chance to get back in the match when Thomas Muller's pass released Olic, only for the Bayern striker to take a poor touch and allow Edwin van der Sar to save.

Ferguson's side looked to have wrapped up the tie four minutes before half-time as Valencia surged away from two Bayern defenders before crossing into the penalty area for Nani to dispatch a sublime first time finish past Butt.

Yet Olic gave Bayern a lifeline in the 43rd minute when he met Muller's header with a fine finish that beat van der Sar from a tight angle.

United were looking surprisingly shaky and Ferguson's team still hadn't steadied their nerves after half-time.

There was no immediate danger when Ribery pulled clear of Rafael just inside the United half, but the young right-back, who had already been cautioned for dissent, showed his inexperience as he tugged at the France winger, earning a red card from Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli for his second booking.

Ferguson responded by sending on John O'Shea for Rooney to plug the gap in United's defence, but Bayern went close as Ribery's stinging volley forced van der Sar to parry with his fists.

Substitute Mario Gomez went close with a glancing header that skimmed over the crossbar and the pressure finally told as Robben broke United's hearts in the 74th minute.

Robben was unmarked on the edge of the penalty area as he met a corner with a magnificent volley past van der Sar to leave England without a Champions League semi-finalist for the first time since 2003.

Lyon survive scare against Bordeaux to reach last four

Lyon reached the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in their history despite losing 1-0 to Bordeaux in a tense quarter-final second leg here on Wednesday.

Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, Bordeaux needed to win by two goals to turn the tie around and Moroccan striker Marouane Chamakh sent the Stade Chaban-Delmas into raptures by putting his side ahead shortly before half-time.

Laurent Blanc's reigning French champions raided forward throughout the second half, with Ludovic Sane heading wide from a Yoann Gourcuff corner and Hugo Lloris producing a brilliant save to deny Wendel late on.

The game's closing stages unfolded amid intense urgency but Lyon held strong to book their place in the semi-finals after quarter-final exits in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and consign Bordeaux to an agonising defeat.

"We were under a fair bit of pressure in the first half but in the second half Bordeaux's rhythm dipped slightly," said Lyon coach Claude Puel.

"Our keeper kept us in it on a few occasions."

Blanc said his side's defeat was more down to inexperience shown in the first leg.

"We weren't quite up to it in the end and we came up against a great team in Lyon," he said.

"More so than having regrets I would say we lacked a bit of experience which cost us at least two goals in the first leg."

Bordeaux right-back Mathieu Chalme, whose handball provoked the penalty that gave Lyon their third goal in last week's first leg, lost his place in the starting XI to Sane, who moved across from centre-back to accommodate fit-again Marc Planus.

Lyon started with Bafetimbi Gomis up front after two-goal first-leg hero Lisandro Lopez was ruled out by suspension and it was the away side who threatened first when Michel Bastos cracked a 35-yard free-kick narrowly wide.

Blanc had called on Bordeaux to enjoy the occasion and with skipper Alou Diarra back in central midfield there were fewer signs of the defensive brittleness that was their undoing in the first leg.

Gomis headed over from Cesar Delgado's left-wing corner but the first half was largely a story of the hosts growing into the game.

Wendel's set-piece deliveries were a constant source of irritation, with Gourcuff beating Lyon goalkeeper Lloris to one inswinging free-kick but heading just over in the 18th minute.

Lyon were gradually forced to retreat and after Jaroslav Plasil fired over from long-range, Diarra drove a rising half-volley against Lloris's crossbar from 30 yards.

The away side were eager for half-time to come but their defence was breached a minute before the break when Chamakh touched the ball home after Benoit Tremoulinas's low cross had been flicked on at the near post by Jussie.

Gomis almost caught Bordeaux cold as the second half got under way, but having rounded Cedric Carrasso his tame attempt was cut out by Planus.

Bordeaux's final ball suffered from their desperation and Lyon coach Claude Puel sought to compound their frustration by sending on Miralem Pjanic in place of Gomis to clog the midfield.

Sane headed wide from a Gourcuff corner with 10 minutes to play and Lloris, a thorn in Bordeaux's side throughout the first leg, then displayed tremendous reactions to palm away Wendel's firm header in the 87th minute.


Date created : 2010-04-07


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