Champions League: Bayern Munich holds Sevilla to secure spot in semifinals

Bayern Munich avoided the pitfalls endured by some of its fellow European heavyweights as a goalless draw against 10-man Sevilla booked a place in the Champions League semifinals.

Last week’s 2-1 comeback win at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan proved enough as a spirited Sevilla was unable to respond with the away goals it needed.

Bayern wrapped up a sixth consecutive Bundesliga title with a 4-1 win at Augsburg on Saturday but this was a patient, workmanlike display with scant evidence of the thrills witnessed elsewhere in this week’s quarterfinals.

Sevilla enjoyed enough openings in the first half to make life uncomfortable for their illustrious hosts but lacked composure in front of goal.

Joaquin Correa’s header against the crossbar after half-time was the closest Manchester United’s conquerors came to a breakthrough, although the Argentina forward’s night ended in ignominy as he was set off for a horrible stoppage-time lunge on Javi Martinez.

Bayern closed out an aggregate victory that will not live long in the memory with little fuss, increasing its chances of an unforgettable triumph in Kiev at the end of May.

James Rodriguez — so impressive from the Bayern bench in the first leg — grazed the top of the netting with a free kick after Gabriel Mercado was a touch fortunate to see only yellow for hauling down Robert Lewandowski in the second minute.

Arjen Robben cut in off the right looking for one of his trademark left-footed finishes, skimming a shot past David Soria’s far post before the Sevilla goalkeeper tipped a Lewandowski header over.

At the other end, Sevilla winger Pablo Sarabia stole in front of Rafinha but blazed over, while Correa failed to make a clean contact from Jesus Navas’ 17th-minute cross.

Ever Banega, Wissam Ben Yedder and Correa combined for captain Sergio Escudero to steer a shot wide — another encouraging moment for the visitors who had been allowed to settle by an increasingly passive Bayern.

Center back Mats Hummels tried to rouse them by firing just over from Robben country, while the Dutch winger teed up his old ally Franck Ribery to force a sharp save from Soria.

Navas made a goal-saving challenge at right back when Thomas Muller slid a low ball towards Ribery at the back post, but a last-ditch tackle by Rafinha on Sarabia in the final minute of the half underlined Bayern’s continued unease.

FC Bayern English

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*Insert generic ‘how about a goal to mark your birthday’ tweet here* 🎉@Thiago6 replaces @FranckRibery as makes his first change 🔄 (71′) 0-0 pic.twitter.com/ClIQVgXrLK

FC Bayern English

@FCBayernEN

Merci for your efforts tonight, Franck! 🤝 0-0 pic.twitter.com/1EWvwQwJbd

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Bayern’s best move of the match in the 49th minute ended with Lewandowski sending a back-post header from Rafinha’s chipped cross into the side netting.

Soria saved with his boot when James tried to catch him out from a tight angle and the Sevilla goalkeeper punched unconvincingly from a Muller drive.

Just as Bayern looked to be turning the screw, Correa rose to thud a header against the crossbar from an excellent free- ick by Banega, the playmaker who then drove forward to zip a low strike narrowly wide.

Jupp Heynckes’ side was able to resume control of proceedings as Sevilla faded — a tired hack over from Steven N’Zonzi indicating there would be no repeat of the late Old Trafford drama long before Correa disgraced himself — and Bayern’s veteran coach remains in contention for a stunning repeat of his 2012-13 treble.

Sportingnews.com

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