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Match Report: Bayern v Sporting

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Match Report: Bayern v Sporting

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:55 pm


A fourth successive European clean sheet proved enough for Bayern to earn the point which guarantees the 2001 winners a place in the last sixteen.

The capacity crowd, restricted to 66,000 with the Allianz Arena in its all-seater configuration, witnessed an untidy first 45 minutes with neither keeper forced into a serious save.

Bayern's best opening of the half fell to the busy Roy Makaay, but the Dutch ace blasted across the face of goal and wide of the far post from makeshift midfielder Willy Sagnol's precise through ball.

The Reds had the better of the chances in a second period which came to life in the final fifteen minutes, but the only flaw in Makaay's otherwise fine display was his failure to convert one of half-a-dozen inviting opportunities, while the home side enjoyed a let-off when Joao Moutinho's free-kick cannoned back into play off the bar.

The result, coupled with Internazionale's 1-0 victory in Moscow, means Bayern remain top of Champions League Group B with ten points from four games, and can only be overtaken by one of Inter (6) and Sporting (5), as the Reds' rivals meet on matchday five.

<b>Van Bommel's late withdrawal</b>

Bayern began the day with seven names on the injured list, but that number rose to eight shortly before kick-off when Mark van Bommel withdrew with a hip problem.

With Bastian Schweinsteiger serving a one-match suspension, the side sent out by coach Felix Magath had a distinctly unfamiliar look to it.

Hasan Salihamidzic took over from Schweinsteiger, with Willy Sagnol pushed forward into van Bommel's right midfield berth.

<b>Munich-born trio</b>

That meant a first start of the season and a European debut for young right-back Christian Lell, back from a two-year loan spell in Cologne and with a handful of Bundesliga appearances in a Munich shirt already to his name.

In Lell, Philipp Lahm and Andreas Ottl, the Reds fielded no fewer than three Munich-born products of their own youth system, which also nurtured Schweinsteiger and Owen Hargreaves through to the peak of the professional game.

The Bavarians' long absentee list was clearly apparent in a first half which descended into scrappiness at times, the Portuguese matching their opponents for misplaced passes and unusually poor ball control.

<b>So close for Roy</b>

Makaay's 11th minute drive across goal prompted something close to a carbon copy at the other end three minutes later as Brazilian striker Liedson sought to capitalise on Lahm's aerial misjudgement, but the half had passed the midway point before Roque Santa Cruz unleashed a dangerous curler from long range.

Polga Anderson produced a last-ditch tackle to foil Makaay on the half-hour, before the Dutch goal-getter rifled narrowly wide and then scuffed his shot from close range with the interval fast approaching.

Lell's debut ended at half-time as Magath sent on Julio dos Santos to add midfield inspiration, with Sagnol dropping to his favoured right-back position. For the visitors, highly-rated youngster Nani took over from Carlos Martins.

<b>Caution prevails</b>

The cautious stalemate persisted through to the hour mark, when Makaay tested Sporting keeper Ricardo with an awkward bouncing drive, but that signalled a spell of Lisbon pressure and a severe workload for Daniel van Buyten and Martin Demichelis at the heart of the Reds' defence.

The home side threatened on the break, and Salihamidzic came within a whisker of connecting with Makaay's incisive diagonal ball on 70 minutes, before Custodio finally warmed Kahn's gloves with a deflected drive.

Makaay and Joao Moutinho traded shots over the bar, Ricardo beat away Santa Cruz' firm shot, and Moutinho fired a free-kick against the woodwork with Kahn well beaten as the game sprang to life towards the end.

Ricardo bravely smothered yet another Makaay effort and pulled off a stunning save to deny Demichelis' thunderous header, sub Alecsandro steered his shot wide of the post, and Pizarro and Makaay both missed out in a final flurry of action, but in truth, neither of two disappointing sides deserved the win on the night.

<i>Live match report for <b></b> by Chris Hamley</i>
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