AC Milan poach win in Munich as Bayern exit
AC Milan book their place in the Champions League semi-finals with a 2-0 win at Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena.Updated: Apr 12, 2007 20:46 IST
AC Milan booked their place in the Champions League semi-finals with a 2-0 win at Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena on Thursday night to knock the German giants out of Europe.
Bayern's proud home record of 11 Champions League games without defeat, held since November 2004, came to an abrupt end as they lost the quarter-final 4-2 on aggregate.
After weathering some early pressure, the Italians came alive midway through the first-half as two goals in less than five minutes by Clarence Seedorf and Filippo Inzaghi booked Milan a semi-final berth against Manchester United.
Bayern chief Franz Beckenbauer conceded that Milan had been the better of the two sides over the tie.
"I am disappointed because we had a lot of hope after the first leg," said the World Cup winning coach and player.
"However, I have to acknowledge that over the two legs AC Milan were the better side. I think we lacked creativity."
Milan's hardman midfielder Gennaro Gattuso said that they had never lost hope even after being held 2-2 at home.
"This is our fourth semi-final in five years. If that isn't a great team then I don't know what is.
The Germans had the advantage from the first-leg after Belgian defender Daniel Van Buyten's equaliser in the third minute of stoppage time gave Bayern a 2-2 draw at the San Siro last week.
But they suffered a blow before kick-off when German international Bastian Schweinsteiger pulled out with a knee injury he suffered in last weekend's 2-1 win over Hanover, after scoring the winning goal, and his influence was missed.
Bosnian international Hasan Salihamidzic came in at right-back for injured Argentinian Martin Demichelis, while Owen Hargreaves partnered Dutch hardman Mark van Bommel in midfield.
AC Milan were missing cup-tied Brazilian Ronaldo and Italian striker Alberto Gilardino was suspended after picking up a yellow card in the first leg as the Italians.
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti played a 4-4-1-1 combination with Kaka just behind lone striker Inzaghi and it proved to be a winning formation.
Bayern had several early half-chances and Milan had to wait until the 20th minute for their first real opportunity when Inzaghi directed a weak header straight into the arms of Bayern captain and goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.
But the guests drew first blood when Seedorf drove his shot hard and low past the diving Kahn to give the visitors a 1-0 lead after 27 minutes to silence the home fans.
"I am delighted we have qualified and even more so that I scored," said Seedorf.
"We have taken a step towards the final but Manchester United know us well," warned the Dutchman.
Just five minutes after Seedorf's goal the German giants suffered a hammer blow when Inzaghi was put into space past Bayern defender Lucio and his powerful shot gave Kahn no chance on 31 minutes.
Lukas Podolski squandered a chance to pull a goal back when van Bommel's cross fell at his feet in the six-yard box, but he failed to connect and Dida scooped the ball out of danger as the Italians went into the break 2-0 ahead.
Bayern came out firing after the interval and Salihamidzic picked up a yellow-card for a heavy challenge just after the hour mark as his side pushed forward.
The home side camped in the Italians half in the dying stages as Podolski went close on numerous occasions and subsititute striker Claudio Pizarro hit the side netting with five minutes left.
But it was too little, too late and Milan now face Manchester United in the semi-final on 24/25 April for a place in the Athens final up for grabs on May 23.
First Published: Apr 12, 2007 20:43 IST