Thursday, March 14, 2013
Nervy Bayern, slick Malaga reach Champions League quarters
By Justin Palmer
LONDON (Reuters) - Last season's beaten finalists Bayern Munich survived a severe case of stage fright to edge into the Champions League quarter-finals on away goals and were joined in the last eight by debutants Malaga on Wednesday.
Nervy Bayern were beaten 2-0 at home by Arsenal but progressed thanks to their 3-1 success in London in the first leg.
Arsenal's task seemed an improbable one but they made a great start when striker Olivier Giroud struck from close range after three minutes. Bayern could never find their stride and Laurent Koscielny's header from a corner four minutes from time set up a tense finale but the German side held on.
It is the first time since the 1995-96 season, when Blackburn Rovers finished bottom of their group, that there is no English team in the last eight.
Malaga's fairytale first season among Europe's elite continued after the Qatari-backed Spaniards overturned a 1-0 first-leg defeat by Porto to win the home leg 2-0 at their Rosaleda stadium.
Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz, on-loan from Manchester City, headed home from a corner on 77 minutes soon after coming on a substitute to secure Malaga's passage.
Playmaker Isco, who won the 'Golden Boy' trophy as the best Under-21 player in Europe last season, had levelled the tie with a fine strike two minutes before halftime.
Porto were up against it when Belgian midfielder Steven Defour was sent off for a second yellow four minutes into the second half.
Bayern and Malaga joined Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Paris St Germain, Juventus, Galatasaray and Barcelona in the last eight.
Barca are favourites to win the trophy for the fourth time in eight seasons after World Player of the Year Lionel Messi's double helped the Catalans overhaul AC Milan's two-goal first-leg lead with a 4-0 demolition of the Italians in the return on Tuesday.
The draw for the quarter-finals takes place in Nyon on Friday. The final is at Wembley stadium on May 25.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)
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