If ever there was a game to be deemed, “David vs. Goliath” Manchester United’s second leg encounter against Bayern Munich fit the bill perfectly. United came into the second leg with high spirits having done well recently in the Barclays Premier League and more importantly having been able to conjure up a draw at Old Trafford against the reigning European Champions Bayern Munich. As United prepared for their second leg, a lot of football pundits had already written off United saying it was an impossible task. In the end the game turned out just as everyone had suspected, a Bayern victory.
The first half was the major positive note that United could take away from the game. Similarly to the last leg, Bayern had more possession but weren’t really able to create any major chances. United were even further away from getting a crucial goal, as they weren’t able to pass trough Bayern’s masterful midfield. Though neither side had any major chances, Bayern still looked the more deadly offensive side. Throughout the first half United defended excellently and a 0-0 score line at half time was as much as either team deserved. United had done half the job by not conceding but knew that if the score line stayed as it was, they would ultimately be eliminated.
The second half provided much of the action that neutral fans were dying to see and United fans praying not to see. The opening minutes of the second half looked promising for United as they were still keeping Bayern at bay, and now looked to drive forward with more tenacity in search of a vital goal. United eventually found that goal in the 57th minute through a wonder strike by fullback Patrice Evra. Evra hit the ball perfectly with the outside of his left foot and with immense power the ball flew into the top right corner of the net. The underdog story was coming true, David had just slung his first rock at Goliath. For a minute United fans everywhere were reaching for the stars, as suddenly, anything seemed possible.
Before any of the United fans and players were able to calm down the “wunderteam” that is Bayern Munich sailed through the United players and within 22 seconds of the restart, Mario Mandzukic’s headed effort had put Bayern level and had the Bavarians singing again. Patrice Evra, who was still celebrating from his goal less than a minute earlier was not able to track Mario Mandzukic’s run and as a result Mandzukic was able to powerfully head the ball past a diving David De Gea who could do no more then get a touch on it.
After the equalizer United were never really able to recuperate and settle down. Suddenly the defense began opening spaces for Bayern’s players to use to their advantage. It was almost as if the shape of the entire team was collapsing from within. It felt as if the player’s confidence levels were slowly draining. Offensively players like Wayne Rooney weren’t able to hit shots that they normal would have hammered into the back of the net. From this point on it was sad to sit and watch as the German giants picked my team apart.
10 minutes after United’s goal, Bayern took the lead through Thomas Muller’s 68th minute goal. Robben was able to beat Evra and thus was able to deliver a beautifully grounded ball into the feet of Thomas Muller who made no mistake of tucking the ball into the back of the net. Everything United had worked so hard to prevent was happening.
After United’s goal Bayern’s wingers, who had for the most part in the first half been neutralized, were running circles around United’s fullbacks. Evra had to bring down Robben as he was approaching the goal for a one on one with David De Gea. Though the howls of the Bavarians were calling out for a red, the referee decided to only give Evra a yellow. Even though the game was well and truly over after Bayern’s second goal, they showed no mercy for United. Robben rounded off an excellent individual performance with a somewhat lucky goal in the 76th minute, as his shot slightly deflected into the back of the net passed the outstretched De Gea.
After having conceded three times in less than 20 minutes there was little the United team could have done. Eventually United were put out of their misery and the game finally ended with a final score of 3-1, 4-2 on aggregate. David had failed to best the might Goliath. It was a valiant effort but in the end Bayern proved to great a task for David Moyes and his Manchester United side.
Yesterday’s game showed the world why Bayern Munich is regarded as one of if not the best team in the world. Even after having gone down the Germans were somehow able to respond immediately with a goal of their own. Normally conceding a goal would deter a team’s spirits but for Bayern the goal was almost like a wakeup call. They were able to outplay United in every aspect of the game and score whenever they felt the need to. This is what won them the Champions league last year and this is why I believe they will become the first team to win back-to-back Champions League titles this year.
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