Porto blown away by Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich were sweating. Coach Pep Guardiola was a man under pressure. A 3-1 humbling by Porto in the first leg of its European Champions League quarterfinal had provoked a host of uncomfortable questions for the German champions.
All of them were answered, emphatically, inside 40 minutes of the second leg. A rampant Bayern found the net five times before halftime at the Allianz Arena thanks to Thiago, Jerome Boateng, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski, who bagged two.The Portuguese side simply could not live with the attacking brio of Bayern, who looked likely to score every time it advanced into the opposition half. It eventually ran out 6-1 victors on the night to complete a comprehensive 7-4 aggregate win.
Now no team that is left in the continent’s premier club contest will fancy facing Bayern or Guardiola, the man who led Spanish side Barcelona to two titles in the competition. The rout was kick started by former Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who nodded home Bernat’s cross from the left after 14 minutes.
Eight minutes later the lead was doubled, as Jerome Boateng climbed highest to direct a header into the far corner of Fabiano’s net after Holger Badstuber’s flick on. That meant the tie was level at 3-3, with Bayern ahead on away goals, but it would take a mere five minutes more for it to take the outright lead. And what a goal it was. Germany’s World Cup winning captain Philipp Lahm volleyed a cross to Muller, whose deft touch set up Poland international Lewandowski to power home yet another header.
Porto were shell shocked, and worse was to follow. Muller was next to make his mark, though his goal owed much to a cruel deflection on a long range shot that fooled Fabiano, the ball scooting between his legs.
And before the half was out it was five as Lewandowski finished superbly, making space inside the area before drilling a low shot into the far corner. Porto gave themselves a faint lifeline when Jackson Martínez headed home with just over a quarter of an hour to go and just two minutes later he came close to scoring after a dazzling run. But it would end the match with 10 men after Ivan Marcano earned a second yellow card and from the resulting free-kick former Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso made it 6-1.
Guardiola could face his former side in the final four after Barcelona breezed past Paris Saint-Germain in its quarter final. The Spanish side led 3-1 from the first leg and, though PSG had mercurial striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in its ranks, an upset never looked likely at the Camp Nou.
Just like Bayern, Barca did the damage in the opening half. Fourteen minutes were on the clock when Andres Iniesta played Brazil international Neymar through on goal, the 23-year-old coolly rounding goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu before slotting home. Sirigu had to be alert to make a double save as Neymar’s compatriot Dani Alves fired in a stunning shot from range but Barca didn’t have to wait long for its second.
Alves was the provider, swinging in a cross that found Neymar unmarked inside the area, and the striker made no mistake with his header. At 5-1 on aggregate the tie was effectively over and though Barcelona pressed forward in search of more goals in the second half, PSG held firm. Ibrahimovic did test Ter Stegen in Barcelona’s goal with a fierce effort but the German made a fine save.
The result may cost its coach, Laurent Blanc, his job with the club’s Qatari owners desperate for Champions League success. After the game PSG defender David Luiz told media: “They controlled both games and deserved to qualify. Neymar and Suarez, they know now what they need to do at Barca. “Barca spent a lot of money for a lot of years. We did very well until here. This is life. We need to improve year by year.”