BY DAN KARELL
If Arsenal needed any more motivation heading into the Allianz Arena on Wednesday, Barcelona’s 4-0 win over AC Milan on Tuesday should have been more than enough.
And channeling their spirit, a forward thinking Arsenal side scored two goals; one three minutes after the start, the second, five minutes before time. Yet, despite the performance, it is Bayern Munich who go on to the Champions League quarterfinals, surviving the 3-3 aggregate score on away goals.
Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud started the ball rolling with his close range finish in the third minute, giving the team belief that the improbable comeback was possible. Back and forth the ball went, from one end to the next. One chance went to Bayern Munich midfielder Arjen Robben. Another, to Toni Kroos. Next, it was Arsenal’s Carl Jenkinson, storming down the right wing time after time.
With the second half winding down, Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny, skied high on a corner, the ball going into the far side of the net, tying the score on aggregate. However, there was not enough time left, and a less than perfect Bayern side held on to continue in the competition. Arsenal can go back to London with their heads held high, having beaten Bayern at their own ground, a very uncommon feat.
In Malaga, the miracle in La Rosaleda stadium continued. Manuel Pellegrini’s side, like Jordi Roura’s on Tuesday, defeated the odds, and Malaga secured an historic victory over Porto, 2-0, winning the tie 2-1 on aggregate.
20-year-old Isco, who has stepped into his own this season, scored the opening goal for the Spanish side, leveling the tie in the 43rd minute. Four minutes into the second half, Porto midfielder Steven Defour was given his second yellow card, and subsequent red card, for a tackle from behind, opening the door for a Malaga winner.
And it was the Paraguayan forward, Roque Santa Cruz, who placed a header past Porto goalkeeper Helton, and gave his side a lead in the tie. Malaga held on for victory, earning the side a place in the quarterfinals, in their first ever season in the Champions League.
Here are the match highlights:
ARSENAL 2, BAYERN MUNICH 0
MALAGA 2, FC PORTO 0
What did you think of the match? Surprised to see Arsenal win in Munich? Think it’s time to do away with the Away Goals rule? Disappointed to see FC Porto crash out?
Share your thoughts below.