Sports

Bayern count the cost of cards after win in Marseille

March 29, 2012

Olympique Marseille’s Nicolas N’koulou (left) challenges Mario Gomez (centre) of Bayern Munich during their Champions League quarter-final first leg match at Velodrome Stadium in Marseille March 28, 2012. — Reuters pic Olympique Marseille’s Nicolas N’koulou (left) challenges Mario Gomez (centre) of Bayern Munich during their Champions League quarter-final first leg match at Velodrome Stadium in Marseille March 28, 2012. — Reuters pic

MARSEILLE, March 29 — Bayern Munich put one foot in the last four of the Champions League with a clinical victory in Marseille yesterday but five yellow cards and a suspension for Bastian Schweinsteiger left coach Jupp Heynckes fuming.

Dutch winger Arjen Robben shone on a bright night for Bayern at the Stade Velodrome and a 2-0 victory put them firmly on course for a semi-final meeting with Real Madrid, who won 3-0 at APOEL Nicosia in their quarter-final, first leg on Tuesday.

Heynckes naturally refused to accept that his team were as good as through but his concern that seven of his players were a booking away from suspension indicated that he had half an eye on a meeting with the nine-times European champions.

Philipp Lahm, Toni Kroos, David Alaba and Anatolyi Tymoshuk joined Jerome Boateng and Thomas Mueller on a list of players who would miss a game if they receive another yellow, while Schweinsteiger will be suspended for the return leg.

“I’m happy with the game but I’m not with the five yellow cards we received. That’s too many,” Heynckes told reporters.

“I’m particularly unhappy with the one Schweinsteiger was shown. Bastian is back from injury and he needs to play,” he added.

“He could have spent time on the pitch in the return leg as he needs to play. I talked to him, he knows there was no use being booked like that.”

There were few other grounds for complaint for the Germans, particularly with Robben’s oustanding performance in setting up the first goal and scoring the second.

His fellow forward Franck Ribery was not at his best, however, and was possibly affected by the boos which rained down on him from the terraces all night.

“I am very happy we won here, away,” Ribery, who left Marseille for Munich in 2007, said. “It’s never easy to come back but I can understand.”

‘Could be worse’

Marseille coach Didier Deschamps said he did not think the France international had been too distracted by the hostile reception.

“He does everything wholeheartedly,” he said. “I think he’s used to this after all he has been through both personally and on the pitch. I don’t think he was disturbed too much.”

Ribery was not the only one to attract the ire of the crowd, however, with the normally passionate Marseille fans staging a silent protest against the club’s recent form.

Marseille, who have not win a game in more than a month, barely threatened the Bayern goal and the absence of goalkeeper Steve Mandanda proved costly as his replacement Elinton Andrade should have done better on Mario Gomez’s opening goal.

The club may have bid farewell to the Champions League for a while as they are ninth in Ligue 1, 13 points adrift of a qualifying place for next year’s competition with nine games to play.

“We still have a chance, even if it’s a very slight one,” Deschamps said.

“We have a week to rest and recover. Despite what happened (tonight), we still have a Champions League quarter-final to play in a great stadium. We’ll do our best.”

Midfielder Stephane Mbia was the only Marseille player to sound any sort of note of defiance in his promise of “a surprise” for the return leg.

His coach already sounded like he was focused on domestic business.

Marseille, who suffered a shock exit to third-tier Quevilly in the French Cup and have lost seven straight in Ligue 1, will have a chance to lift a trophy next month when they face Olympique Lyon in the League Cup.

“It could be worse. There is no reason to resign,” Deschamps said.

 

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