Bayern Munich, Lyon win despite losing
The “typical Germans” and the atypical French are heading into the semifinals of the European Champions League.
On a night of high soccer drama in England and France, Bayern Munich advanced to the final four despite a 3-2 loss to Manchester United and Olympique Lyon also advanced despite a 1-0 loss to Bordeaux.
After the game at Old Trafford in which England World Cup striker Wayne Rooney reinjured his right ankle, Manchester United Coach Alex Ferguson succeeded in making comments that will not find favor in Germany.
Talking about the dismissal of United’s 19-year-old Brazilian defender Rafael da Silva when he earned a second yellow card for holding back Franck Ribery, Ferguson seemed to blame Bayern Munich’s players for causing the ejection.
“Young boy, inexperience, but they got him sent off,” he said. “They all rushed towards the referee. Typical Germans. You can’t dispute that. The key issues were the goal before halftime and then the boy getting sent off.”
It should be pointed out that Bayern Munich’s starting lineup featured two Dutchmen, an Argentine, a Frenchman, a Croatian, a Belgian and only five Germans. Also, Bayern’s coach, Louis van Gaal, is Dutch.
Typically, Ferguson got it wrong.
So did Manchester United. Ferguson elected to start Rooney even though the team’s top goal scorer had injured his ankle in the 2-1 first-leg loss in Munich last week.
Rooney helped set up goals in the first seven minutes by Daron Gibson and Nani, with Nani making it 3-0 four minutes before halftime.
Leading by an aggregate score of 4-2, Manchester United seemed set for the semifinals, but that notion went out the window when Croatia’s Ivica Olic easily rounded Michael Carrick before steering a shot past goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar to make it 3-1 only two minutes after Nani’s second goal.
When Rafael was sent off five minutes into the second half, it left Manchester United to play with 10 men, and the 2008 European champion was further hurt a short while later when a limping Rooney had to leave.
Taking advantage, Bayern Munich kept up the pressure and was rewarded when Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who sat out the first leg because of a calf injury, hammered home a volley 16 minutes from the end to make it 3-2 but, more to the point, 4-4 on aggregate.
That’s where it ended, with Manchester United winning the game but Bayern Munich advancing on the strength of its two away goals compared to one for United.
“The first half was not that good,” Van Gaal said. “What we did in the second half is incredible. We should have been aggressive from the start.”
Ferguson claimed that the injury to Rooney was nothing serious.
“It’s a burst blood vessel just below the ankle joint,” Ferguson said. “He won’t be out for too long.”
Manchester United, meanwhile, is out for good, its 2010 Champions League hopes having evaporated.
The same thing happened to French champion Bordeaux, which had been beaten, 3-1, in the first leg of its quarterfinal series in Lyon last week.
This time it won, 1-0, on a goal by French international Marouane Chamakh, but that was not enough to turn the series around and Olympique Lyon advanced to the semifinals for the first time in the club’s 111-year history.
Bayern Munich will play Lyon in the two-game semifinal series starting in Germany on April 21 and finishing in France on April 27.
In the other semifinal series, Italian champion Inter Milan plays defending Spanish, European and world champion Barcelona in Italy on April 20 and in Spain on April 28.
The Champions League final is in Madrid on May 22.
Jones reported from Los Angeles
Times wire services contributed to this report.