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Rediff.com  » Sports » When Bayern Munich dented English hopes

When Bayern Munich dented English hopes

April 08, 2010 15:27 IST

Manchester United playersWith Manchester United crashing out of the Champions League on Wednesday night, it is the first time in seven years that the competition will not feature an English club in the last four stage.

Bayern Munich beat Manchester United on away goals to enter the semi-finals, where they will face Lyon. The two goals they scored in the 2-3 defeat at Old Trafford -- they won the first leg 2-1 -- took them through.

In the last five years, an English club has always made the final, with Liverpool (2005) and Manchester United (2008) emerging victorious.

Arsenal (2006), Liverpool (2007), Chelsea (2008) and Manchester United (2009) were runners-up. In 2004, Chelsea lost to the ultimate runners-up Monaco (France) in the semi-finals.

For the last two seasons, four English clubs reached the Champions League quarter-finals. This season, Liverpool failed to progress from the group stages, while Arsenal were overwhelmed by magical Messi, who thumped in four goals at Nou Camp to oust North Londoners.

Chelsea were eliminated by Inter Milan in the pre-quarter finals stage itself.

With Arsenal being 'messi'merised at Barcelona, English hopes rested on Manchester United. The Red Devils, who came into the second leg quarter-final with a 1-2 deficit, were in control right from the outset in the second leg.

Darron Gibson brought the hosts to parity with a stunning long distance strike in the third minute. Four minutes later, with panic breaking out in the Bayern ranks, Antonio Valencia teased Holger Badstuber near the right touchline and delivered a low cross that Nani met with an instinctive back heel to lift the roof off the stadium.

When Nani curled a fantastic shot high into the net after 41 minutes it seemed a repeat of the 7-1 rout of Roma at the same stage three years ago was on the cards when United also overturned a 2-1 first-leg deficit.

However, Ivica Olic scored just before the break, raising Bayern hopes. After the lemon break,  the visitors came hard at United, building pressure all the time. They were rewarded with a thunder strike from Arjen Robben, just 16 minutes from time, dashing United's hopes of reaching yet another Champions League semi-final.