Relief for Niko Kovac as Bayern Munich rout Benfica to reach UEFA Champions League last 16

The Germans need just a point at Ajax in a fortnight to win Group A, while the best Benfica can hope for is third and a place in the Europa League knock-out phase.

Published: 28th November 2018 03:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th November 2018 03:42 AM   |  A+A-

Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich midfielder Arjen Robben is congratulated by his teammates after scoring their second goal during the Champions League group E match against Benfica Lisbon in Munich | AP

By AFP

MUNICH: Bayern Munich romped to an emphatic 5-1 home win against Benfica on Tuesday to qualify for the Champions League last 16 and ease the pressure on coach Niko Kovac.

Arjen Robben and Robert Lewandowski both scored twice before Franck Ribery completed the rout at the Allianz Arena after Gedson Fernandes had netted Benfica's consolation.

Kovac's team shrugged off lacklustre league form -- winning just two and losing three of their last seven Bundesliga games -- with a convincing display.

This is the 11th season in succession Bayern have reached the last 16 of the Champions League.

ALSO READ | AS Roma, Real Madrid qualify as Viktoria Plzen beat CSKA Moscow

While Bayern sit just fifth in the Bundesliga, they are flying in Europe, having now chalked up four wins and a draw in the Champions League's group stage.

They need just a point at Ajax in a fortnight to win Group A, while the best Benfica can hope for is third and a place in the Europa League knock-out phase.

Bayern were unrecognisable from the team which leaked goals in a 3-3 draw with Bundesliga strugglers Fortuna Duesseldorf on Saturday.

Bayern went ahead after just 13 minutes when Robben produced a stunning piece of skill for his 30th Champions League goal.

There was nothing on when the Dutch veteran darted through three defenders on the right wing, cut inside another and hit the top left corner with a superb shot.

The 34-year-old doubled Bayern's lead by wrong-footing Benfica defenders German Conti and crashing his shot past Odysseas Vlachodimos on 30 minutes.

The third goal followed six minutes later when Lewandowski rose highest for a corner and steered his header into the net via the post.

It was the Polish star striker's 50th Champions League goal.

ALSO READ | Ajax rejoins UEFA Champions League last 16 with 2-0 win at AEK Athens

It was 3-0 to Bayern at the break, but it could have been 5-0 as Vlachodimos had to twice palm shots away by Thomas Mueller and Lewandowski.

However, the defensive errors which have blighted their recent performances returned to haunt Bayern straight after the break.

Benfica boss Rui Vitoria brought on Portugal international Gedson Fernandes for the second half and the teenage midfielder took just 48 seconds to score.

Gedson sprinted onto a through pass and finished off a counter attack by slotting past Manuel Neuer to stun the hosts.

Bayern restored their three-goal cushion just five minutes later when Lewandowski again headed home another Kimmich corner.

Ribery capped a gala night with an exchange of passes with David Alaba to slam home Bayern's fifth 13 minutes from time and claim his first Champions League goal for more than three years.

South Korean teenager Woo-Yeong Jeong, 19, came on for his senior Bayern Munich debut in the dying stages.

Stay up to date on all the latest Football news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp