Guangzhou – FC Bayern München faced some stiff resistance from Guangzhou Evergrande in their third and final game in the Far East, missing out on the Volkswagen Cup on a penalty shoot-out.
Early blow for Bayern
The Chinese champions were good value for a draw, causing Pep Guardiola's men plenty of headaches in a goalless 90 minutes. A shoot-out was therefore needed and the usually infallible Thomas Müller crucially missed Bayern's first as the hosts lifted the prize with their five flawless penalties
Even before Bayern took to the field in Guangzhou, they had suffered a loss with Medhi Benatia replaced last-minute by David Alaba in the starting XI. This led to a slight reshuffle, but what did not change was Bayern's dominant attacking football, Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg going close to giving them the lead early on. That set the tone of the game with Bayern knocking at the door and Guangzhou keeping them out while mounting some interesting counterattacks to ensure Manuel Neuer got some practice at the other end.
Denied at the death
Guardiola switched things in the second half with Philipp Lahm, Thiago Alcantara and Müller among those entering the fray. Rookie goalkeeper Ivan Lucic also came on and he had to be at his very best to keep Gao Lin from giving the hosts the advantage after an hour. Bayern certainly knew they were in for a game as Guangzhou continued to test them on the break, but the record champions could have snatched victory in the last minute when Douglas Costa went close, but not close enough to prevent penalties.
Paying the penalty
The penalty shoot-out got off to a bad start for Bayern with the ever-reliable Müller missing. Guangzhou's players kept their cool to net all five of their spot-kicks, Xiaoting Feng converting the last to earn the Chinese champions the Volkswagen Cup.