Bayern were made to work for their passage into the semi-finals of the Champions League after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Benfica on Wednesday night.
Benfica 2 (2) Bayern 2 (3)
Jimenez brings hosts level on aggregate
Vidal scores equaliser on the night
Muller secures visitor’s aggregate lead
Talisca gives Bayern a late scare
Bayern took a slender lead into the deciding leg of their Champions League quarter final against Benfica and their nerves were evident early on as Raul Jimenez scored the opening goal in the 27th minute to bring the aggregate score to 1-1.
However, Arturo Vidal would restore the hosts lead with a vital away goal in the 38th minute to level the scores on the night, but put the visitors in the driver’s seat to advance in the competition.
Thomas Muller killed off the tie in the 52nd minute when he made the score 2-1 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate, meaning the hosts would need to score three goals to beat the Germans.
Benfica did manage to draw level on the night in the 77th minute when Anderson Talisca lifted a lovely free kick over the wall and into the back of the net, but the aggregate gap was too much for the hosts to make up and Bayern held on to advance to the final four of the Champions League.
Bayern, as expected, dominated possession throughout their match against Benfica, but looked reluctant to over-commit players forward and risk getting hit on the counter attack. The net result was a lot of slick passing movements but very little end product and chances were scarce.
Muller had the first real chance of the game 19 minutes in after being played in by a beautiful ball from Philipp Lahm, but he was unable to hit the target.
Despite their caution, the Bavarians found themselves behind on the evening, and level on aggregate, in the 27th minute as Benfica made the most of a rare spell on the ball with Eliseu lofting a lovely ball into the box for Jimenez, who converted expertly.
The home side were almost two up moments later as Jimenez burst into the box once again but this time he hit his shot straight at Manuel Neuer, who made a comfortable save.
That passage of play spurred the visitors into action and they restored their aggregate lead in the 38th minute when Vidal pounced on a rebound in the box to smash the ball off the post and into the net to make the score 1-1 on the night.
Benfica continued to let Bayern dominate possession and look for chances to counter, but their tactics backfired seven minutes after half time as Javi Martinez got to a bouncing ball first to head it over the defence for the on-rushing Muller, who collected and fired past Ederson to give the German side an imposing 3-1 aggregate lead with two away goals.
The visitors would have another scare late on when Talisca executed a wonderful free kick to beat Neuer and bring the scores back to 2-2 on the night, but the away goals for Bayern meant they were still in a relatively comfortable position, which they maintained to advance to the semi-finals of the Champions League 3-2 on aggregate.