Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Vidal Hits Bayern Goal Past Benfica

Vidal scores Bayern Goal
An early goal from Arturo Vidal proved enough for Bayern München to record a slender win at home to Benfica in this UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg, although their failure to add to that lead leaves the tie in the balance.

Bayern had needed to come from two goals down at home to Juventus in their round of 16 second leg, but they were quickly out of the blocks here and seized control with barely a minute on the clock. Douglas Costa switched play to the left and the ball was worked for Juan Bernat to deliver a pinpoint cross for Vidal to nod in at the far post.

Ederson, making only his second UEFA Champions League appearance, had no chance on that occasion yet the 22-year-old was equal to Douglas Costa's effort soon afterwards. Ederson also saved bravely at the feet of Robert Lewandowski, before blocking a thunderous Thomas Müller volley.

Vidal had another headed opportunity, the ball bouncing up and over the crossbar, but was called upon at the other end in the half's final seconds, flinging himself in the path of Nicolás Gaitán's ferocious volley.

Perhaps encouraged, Benfica began to show more of an attacking threat as the second half unfolded – and just before the hour, missed a golden chance to draw level. Jonas turned brilliantly past David Alaba yet his shot was too close to Manuel Neuer and the goalkeeper punched away.

Lewandowski had a flicked attempt comfortably dealt with by Ederson, who then denied Franck Ribéry with another fine block. That ensured there is little to separate the sides ahead of the return in Portugal next Wednesday.

The midfielder was in the right place at the right time to head in Bernat's cross in the second minute and was at the heart of the action throughout, covering every centimetre of the pitch. The Chilean relishes these kind of nights and produced a committed display, putting his body on the line when required.

After a slow start in the home leg against Juventus, Bayern flew out of the blocks to score after 110 seconds. But despite their first-half supremacy, the home team were unable to add to their tally and have a tough fixture awaiting them in Lisbon.

Two minutes in and you could have been forgiven for thinking it would be a long 90 minutes for the visitors. But the Portuguese champions weathered the Bayern storm and slowly gained a foothold. Though they struggled to create openings in the first half, the longer the contest stayed at 1-0 the more they grew in confidence. 

It won't be easy, but they have every chance of overturning the deficit in Lisbon next week.

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