Germany

Arsenal 1-3 Bayern Munich

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Wenger: Gutted

Wenger: Gutted

Arsenal's Champions League adventure looks all but over this season as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the first-leg of their last-16 clash at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

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Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller handed Die Roten a 2-0 lead after just 21 minutes, and although Lukas Podolski pulled one back soon after the half-time break, Jupp Heynckes's men restored their two-goal cushion as Mario Mandzukic bundled home a third late on.

The German giants went ahead after just seven minutes, Kroos getting on the end of a mis-cued delivery from out wide, but making absolutely no mistake to viciously volley the ball down into the ground and past the flailing Wojciech Szczesny.

Midway through the first-half the Bavarians doubled their advantage, Szczesny only able to parry Daniel van Buyten's header from a corner back into danger, allowing Muller to lash home into the roof of the net from just a few yards out.

The Gunners managed to regain somewhat of a foothold in the game towards the end of the first-half, although for all their intricate passing the north Londoners were unable to find an avenue to goal, with the Bayern defence proving shrewd when called on to cover the runs of Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere.

Mandzukic looked destined to add a third right on the 45-minute mark after finding himself completely unmarked to get on the end of Philipp Lahm's curling delivery, but he could only head his effort inches wide of the up-right.

Ten minutes after the restart the Gunners continued to turn on the pressure and won themselves a corner following some sustained pressure, although the set-piece should not have been awarded as Santi Cazorla's shot deflected out of his own tea-mate.

However, the hosts refused to let the opportunity pass them by and some comical goalkeeping from Manuel Neuer saw the gloveman come off his line only to allow the delivery to bounce in front of the six-yard area, and Podolski was on hand to nod home into an empty net.

The yellow cards started mounting in the second half, with no fewer than six bookings coming after 66 minutes of play, and Bayern had a good chance to find a third as Podolski went into the referee's notebook after bringing down Muller within shooting distance, although Bastian Schweinsteiger's curling effort fizzed over the crossbar.

Arsene Wenger's men came agonisingly close to levelling matters on 72 minutes as Walcott showed a sublime touch to control a lofted ball over the top before firing his delivery back into the area, but Olivier Giroud's first-time volley was hit straight at Neuer, who didn't know too much about it but still managed to make the save.

However, with 13 minutes remaining the visitors got their third, Arjen Robben threading the ball through to feed Lahm on the overlap, with the full-back playing a devastating ball across the face of goal, and although Mandzukic's touch looped up in the air, it had the beating of the goalkeeper and nestled in the back of the net to ensure the visitors took three priceless away goals back to the Allianz Arena for next month's return fixture.

Posted: 19/02/13 21:36

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