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Red Star - Bayern: Match report

News that's automatically retrieved from the official FC Bayern Munich website.

Red Star - Bayern: Match report

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:27 pm


Miroslav Klose equalised twice before sub Toni Kroos’ dramatic last-gasp winner saw battling Bayern home in a scrappy but hard-fought UEFA Cup group opener in Belgrade on Thursday.

A 35,000 crowd at the venerable stadium known locally as the Marakana saw Ognjen Koroman fire the home side into a 16th minute lead against the early run of play, but Miroslav Klose continued his prolific scoring run with the equaliser just four minutes later.

<b>Super sub Kroos</b>

Despite the miserable state of the playing surface, the visitors asserted control for a decent spell afterwards, only for the home side to rally and seize the initiative after the interval.

Lucio’s massive presence at centre-back appeared to have kept the Serbs at bay, only for Nenad Milijas to net with a speculative long-range effort a quarter of an hour from time. But the Bundesliga leaders were not finished yet and Klose levelled for the second time with a close range finish off his shoulder from sub Toni Kroos’ 85th minute free-kick.

The gifted youngster had one last ace up his sleeve with the set piece deep into stoppage time which evaded friend and foe alike to seal an unlikely to hugely welcome three points and the best possible start to the group phase.

<b>Three changes</b>

With Luca Toni, Martin Demichelis (both flu) and Franck Ribery (strain) ruled out on Wednesday morning, Bayern’s starting line-up featured Lukas Podolski alongside Miroslav Klose up front and Bastian Schweinsteiger wide on the left, with fit-again Philipp Lahm returning from an eight-week lay-off to fill the right-back role, Christian Lell moving inside to partner captain Lucio at centre-half.

The attendance was well below capacity, but the crowd still created an intimidating atmosphere at the Crvena Zvezda stadium in the Serbian capital, although the hostility from the stands was less influential than the shocking state of the pitch as the players struggled for control and accuracy in an untidy first half.

<b>Sides trade early goals</b>

Red Star interim coach Milorad Kosanovic fielded a youthful side with an average age of just 23, featuring an all-South American front two of Ecuador star Segundo Castillo and Argentine newcomer Hernan Barcos, but it was Bayern who made the early running as Hamit Altintop twice failed to connect from promising positions.

But the home side had a shock in store for the Bavarians when former Portsmouth midfielder Koroman collected a crossfield pass and turned Lahm with a neat flick before unleashing a left-foot drive across Michael Rensing and in at the far corner.

Munich kept their collective cool and were level just four minutes later after Lucio strode forward purposefully and fired at goal from long range. Deceived by the awkward bounce, keeper Ivan Randjelovic spilled what should have been a routine take and Klose mopped up in characteristically ruthless fashion.

<b>Red Star fight back</b>

The action cooled for a spell now, but although Rensing was forced to clear with a fist on 29 minutes and then carefully follow the flight of Milijas’ deflected free-kick, Munich had the better of the chances only for Klose to see a clean strike taken by Randjelovic, before the striker’s uncontrolled header drifted wide following a good thrust down the left from Podolski.

Koroman drove across the face of Rensing’s goal in an eerie re-run of his earlier scoring effort as Red Star rallied with half-time approaching, and the Serbs maintained the initiative through to the hour mark, although their attacking efforts frequently foundered on the towering rock of Lucio at the heart of the Bayern defence.

Altintop ushered in a better period for the visitors with a shot narrowly over the bar on 63 minutes, before Lucio’s thunderous free-kick caused pandemonium in the Red Star box only for Ze to be penalised for use of a hand.

<b>Drama at the death</b>

Bayern certainly appeared to have weathered the storm when Milijas took aim from fully 30 yards after 74 minutes, but the looping effort took an evil bounce just in front of Rensing and crept into the corner of the net. Jan Schlaudraff had just replaced Altintop, and Hitzfeld now sent on Kroos for Van Bommel in a final throw of the dice.

The young prodigy duly responded with the wickedly curling free-kick which Klose forced over the line with his shoulder, but the former Rostock youth had one more ace up his sleeve as his free-kick with practically the last kick of the match somehow found a way through a forest of legs to seal the dramatic late victory.

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