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Visitors Lyon robbed of glory

Arjen Robben’s late strike helps Bayern Munich win their first-leg semifinal.

sports Updated: Apr 22, 2010 23:17 IST

Arjen Robben scored a second-half winner as Bayern Munich beat Lyon 1-0 in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal on Wednesday which both sides finished with 10 men. Robben found the net in the 69th minute with a shot that took a slight deflection off his teammate Thomas Mueller. Earlier, Bayern’s star winger Franck Ribery was sent off in the 37th minute for a challenge on Lisandro and Lyon defender Jeremy Toulalan went off with his second booking in the 54th.

“We still have a tough evening in Lyon, nothing is decided yet,” Robben said. “We only have a small advantage. “We have a strong character. We just keep going. Tonight we fought for 90 minutes, even though it was tough for a while playing 10 against 11. 0-0 was not a good result so we all said we had to give another 10-20 percent. And we did that. In the second half we played better and were the better team.”

Bayern had more chances throughout the match, while Lyon relied on rare counterattacks and created few threats. However, Lyon travelled to the match by road over two days because of the suspension in air traffic across Europe following the eruption of a volcano in Iceland.

“I am not looking for excuses,” Lyon coach Claude Puel said. “They put us under a lot of pressure from the start and we lost possession too quickly. Had we kept our man advantage, it may have been a different game.

“I could live with a loss, but I wish we’d scored.” The result was one of the outcomes Bayern had been wishing for, with Lyon failing to score an important away goal.

“I am very pleased,” Bayern coach Louis van Gaal said. “We created a lot of chances but we scored only once. I think we’ve shown the whole of Europe how strong we are, even with 10 against 11 we were the stronger team.

“We did not concede and we normally score away so Lyon will have to score three to advance and we don’t concede three goals that often.”

Robben, who has scored several decisive goals for Bayern this season, cut inside from the right flank and sent a shot that took a slight deflection off Mueller and slipped under goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Mueller ducked in an attempt to stay out of the way but the slight deflection was enough to catch Lloris on the wrong foot.

Ribery was sent off for a challenge on Lisandro after losing the ball. Ribery stepped on Lisandro’s ankle with his right foot, leaving the Argentine to be carried off the pitch. Lisandro returned a couple of minutes later to a barrage of boos from the partisan crowd.

Last week, Ribery provided testimony for investigators probing a suspected prostitution ring believed to have operated out of a Paris nightclub. Sophie Bottai, Ribery’s lawyer, says no charges were filed against him and that he was not held in Police custody. Ribery will now automatically miss next week’s second leg in Lyon. He still has not committed himself to a contract extension with Bayern. Lyon lost the man advantage when Toulalan received his second booking of the match from referee Roberto Rosetti of Italy for a foul on Bastian Schweinsteiger. Toulalan’s first booking was only three minutes earlier.

“I wish we’d scored another goal,” Schweinsteiger said.

Bayern hope Ribéry avoids final ban

london: Bayern Munich are hoping Uefa will show leniency when a decision is made on Franck Ribéry’s red card last night. The Frenchman was sent off in the 37th minute for a tackle on Lisandro López and will face at least a one-game ban — with Bayern hoping it will be no more than that.

Uefa will decide next Wednesday whether Ribery will face any more than the automatic one-game ban.

European football’s governing body on Thursday confirmed to Bayern that the 27-year-old will miss the second-leg.

The disciplinary committee will sit down to discuss the matter the following day.

“He didn’t lunge at him with his leg,” said coach Louis van Gaal, “It is a harsh red card, but you can give it.

“Franck gave the referee the chance to send him off by standing on his foot for longer than necessary.”

First Published: Apr 22, 2010 23:15 IST