Munich – FC Bayern München came from behind to beat Manchester United FC 3-1 at the Allianz Arena and advance to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

After a goalless first-half, Patrice Evra’s thunderous strike gave the English champions the lead in Munich, but Mario Mandzukic headed in the equaliser moments later. Thomas Müller put Bayern 2-1 ahead on the night, before Arjen Robben sealed the win with a fine solo effort 15 minutes from time.

Chances few and far between


Despite Bastian Schweinsteiger’s suspension and Thiago Alcantara’s absence through injury, Pep Guardiola named captain Philipp Lahm at right-back for Wednesday’s quarter-final second-leg clash, with Toni Kroos lining up in defensive midfield. In a lively opening, Robben curled a left-footed effort wide of David De Gea’s far post after a quarter of an hour, before Antonio Valencia had a goal ruled out for offside at the other end.

As was the case at Old Trafford a week ago, Bayern were enjoying the majority of possession, but were struggling to break down a dogged United defence. The Bundesliga champions were largely restricted to efforts from distance, with David Alaba, Franck Ribery and Kroos all failing to trouble De Gea with shots from the edge of the penalty area.

Evra stuns the Allianz


While the Red Devils were doing a good job of soaking up the hosts’ pressure, David Moyes’ side offered little attacking threat of their own. Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney both applied plenty of effort in attack, but the England international duo saw very little of the ball in the opening 45 minutes. United continued to hand the initiative to Bayern as the half progressed, but when Robben did manage to carve out a shooting opportunity two minutes before the interval, Chris Smalling was on hand to block the Dutchman’s effort.

The second half began in similar fashion, with Jerome Boateng fizzing a shot well wide of the United goal. The visitors then took the lead in spectacular style when full-back Evra’s first-time strike from Antonio Valencia’s low cross crashed in off the underside of the crossbar. Bayern’s response was almost immediate, however, as Mandzukic headed home Ribery’s cross to level the tie at 2-2.

Robben to the rescue


A second United goal would have put Bayern’s passage to the semi-finals of Europe’s premier club competition in serious jeopardy. Not long after Mandzukic’s equaliser, Welbeck fought his way into the Bayern penalty area, before squaring the ball to Rooney. The 28-year-old scuffed his shot, however, and Neuer was able to gather.

The hosts continued to look the more likely to get the game’s third goal, and when Robben cut inside from the left and flashed the ball across the six-yard box, Müller was left with the simple task of prodding the ball past De Gea and into the visitors’ net. It was Robben who put Bayern’s place in the last four beyond all doubt, cutting in from the left once more before firing past the Spanish keeper via a slight deflection off Nemanja Vidic.

Line-ups:

Bayern: Neuer - Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba - Kroos, Müller (Pizarro 84'), Götze (Rafinha 65') - Robben, Ribery - Mandzukic

Man Utd: De Gea - Jones, Smalling, Vidic, Evra - Fletcher (Hernandez 75'), Carrick - Valencia, Rooney, Kagawa - Welbeck (Januzaj 81')

Goals: 0-1 (Evra 57'), 1-1 (Mandzukic 58'), 2-1 (Müller 68'), 3-1 (Robben 76')

Matthew Howarth