Man City ease into Champions League semis with 1-1 draw at Bayern; Inter see off Benfica in thriller
Manchester City’s Erling Braut Haaland scores the team’s first goal against Bayern Munich in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal clash in Munich on April 19, 2023 | Image Credit: Reuters
Manchester City are through to the semi-finals of the Champions League after a 1-1 draw at Bayern Munich on Wednesday earning a 4-1 aggregate win that moved them a step closer to an elusive first title in competition.
City forward Erling Haaland, who missed a first-half penalty, made amends in the 57th minute, drilling in his 48th goal in all competitions this season to kill off the tie before Bayern equalized through Joshua Kimmich’s penalty in the 83rd.
It was City’s 15th consecutive game unbeaten in all competitions and Pep Guardiola’s side, who are losing finalists in 2021, will next face holders Real Madrid in the last four.
Record for Guardiola
It is also the 10th time Guardiola has reached the semi-finals as a coach, a new record.
“I am so happy to be three in a row semi-finals (with City),” said Guardiola. “I didn’t expect (Bayern) to be different, you saw how good they are.”
“In this competition, it’s the details. In these two games at the right moment we were there,” said Guardiola, who coached Bayern from 2013-16.
“In the second half we fixed some things and from the first minute in the second half we felt much, much more in control.”
Bayern always had a mountain to climb after losing 3-0 in the first leg, but got off to a strong start.
Kingsley Coman was a constant source of danger on the wing, keeping City’s defenders busy, and the hosts’ biggest chance came in the 17th minute when Leroy Sane latched on to Jamal Musiala’s pass but dragged his shot wide wide that only keeper Ederson was beaten.
The Bavarians, who were knocked out of the German Cup two weeks ago following the arrival of coach Thomas Tuchel, were relieved a minute later when defender Dayot Upamecano was sent off first after receiving a straight red card for the last -man foul on Haaland.
However, a VAR review confirmed the striker was offside and the Bayern defender’s dismissal was overturned.
Haaland misses, then scores
Upamecano, heavily criticized for his mistake that led to City’s second goal in the first leg, was a little unlucky when he was penalized for a handball. Haaland sent his penalty high over the bar, a rare miss for the Norwegian striker this season, but he did better after the restart.
After combining well with Kevin De Bruyne, Haaland turned away the oncoming Upamecano, before beating keeper Yann Sommer, who set a new record having taken just 27 matches to reach 35 goals in the club’s premier competition in Europe.
City’s goal was the first Bayern conceded at home in all competitions this season and the hosts, with only the Bundesliga title left to play for, grabbed an equalizer when Kimmich converted a spot kick.
“It’s really annoying that we didn’t lead all the chances we had,” Kimmich said. I want to see how this match would have gone if we had made it 1-0 in the first half.”
Their disappointing night was completed when Tuchel was sent off after a second booking in the 86th minute.
Inter see Benfica to set up Milan showdown
Inter drew 3-3 with Benfica on Wednesday to win their Champions League quarter-final 5-3 on aggregate and face city rivals AC Milan for the right to become the first Italian team to reach in the final for six years.
This will be Inter’s first semi-final appearance since they won the European Cup for the third time in 2010, the last success of the Italian Champions League where they lost to Juventus in the 2015 and 2017 finals.
“It will be a special derby,” Inter striker Lautaro Martinez, who ended his 10-game scoring drought by scoring his team’s second goal against Benfica, told Amazon Prime Video.
“We all know what this game means, to play the Milan derby in the semi-finals of the Champions League.