Champions League

Ribery restores some pride

2009-04-14 22:56
Franck Ribery (AFP)

Munich - French playmaker Franck Ribery ensured Bayern Munich exited the Champions League with at least some dignity as the German giants held Barcelona 1-1 in Tuesday's quarter-final second-leg.

Having come to Munich with a virtually unbeatable 4-0 advantage from the first-leg at the Nou Camp, Barcelona go through 5-1 on aggregate to book their place in the semi-finals.

No side in the competition's history had ever over-turned a four goal deficit and Bayern were always going to need a miracle to reach the last four.

After going close in the first-half, Ribery finally unpicked the Barcelona defence on 47 minutes before Seydou Keita equalised for the Spanish with less than 20 minutes left.

No Spanish side has ever won the treble of league, Kings Cup and Champions League, but Barcelona are on course to take all three titles as coach Josep Guardiola hopes to lead the Spaniards to a third European title after 1992 and 2006.

A fever removed one of Bayern's chief tormentors from the second leg here as France striker Thierry Henry succumbed to a high temperature, but Guardiola kept a three-prong attack with Andres Iniesta pushed further upfield.

Germany strikers Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose were both ruled out with calf and ankle injuries respectively leaving Italian World Cup winner Luca Toni as the lone forward with Ribery playing just behind him.

Bayern coach Jurgen Klinsmann was booed by his own fans before kick-off, but this result on the back of the weekend's 4-0 win over Frankfurt in the German league will have taken some of the pressure off the ex-Germany coach.

Gloria Gaynor's hit "I Will Survive" echoed around Munich's Allianz Arena before kick-off, but Bayern went one better than survival as they matched a Barcelona side who looked to believe the tie was already won.

Argentine star Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto'o had both scored early goals in the first-leg to put Bayern 2-0 down after 12 minutes, but it was the Germans who started brighter here in Munich.

Both Ribery and Toni went close in the first-half, but both blasted their shots over the bar as it stayed 0-0 at the interval.

Immediately after the break Bayern finally unlocked the Barcelona defence.

A great pass from Ze Roberto split the visitor's defence and Ribery skipped inside the penalty area before rifling his shot past goalkeeper Victor Valdes on 47 minutes.

It looked as though Bayern were heading for a win before Barcelona awoke from their slumber and showed their true class.

Iniesta and Eto'o combined in the Bayern penalty area and Xavi Hernandez pulled a pass back to Keita whose shot gave Butt no chance as it ended honours even.



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