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Saturday 18 August 2018

Bayern put one foot into Euro semi-final with win in Marseille

MARSEILLE's decision to field third-choice goalkeeper Elinton Andrade backfired after his mistake gifted Bayern Munich the opening goal as the German side won 2-0 in their Champions League quarter-final first leg in France last night.

Andrade, preferred to Gennaro Bracigliano as first-choice keeper Steve Mandanda is suspended, allowed Mario Gomez's shot to squirm under his body in the 44th minute of the game at the Stade Vélodrome.

It was an 11th Champions League goal this season for Gomez, second only to Lionel Messi, and 37th in all competitions, and it kept Bayern on course to reach the final at their own Allianz Arena stadium.

Dutch winger Arjen Robben added a classy second midway through the second half to put the visitors on the brink of a place in the last four.

CHANCE

"We did some good things until the opener but their goal really hammered us," said Marseille coach Didier Deschamps.

"There's still a chance we can go through, but it's a tiny one.

"We're not in the best position and we know Bayern are very strong at home. Players of that quality always punish you.

"We put our heart and soul into it, but they were superior to us."

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said: "We fulfilled our objective, which was to win here without conceding a goal.

"We have a return leg yet to play, so I don't want to talk about the semi-final and who we will be playing. I don't really have any doubts, but I have respect for Marseille."

Out of form, hampered by injuries and suspensions, and jeered by their own fans in a stadium barely half full, Marseille hardly tested Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer on France's south coast as they slipped to their eighth loss in the last nine games.

Marseille's fans were in unforgiving mood and refused to encourage their own players at the start of the game, even holding up one banner, which said: "Ce soir on est comme vous: on ne sert a rien" (Tonight we're just like you: good for nothing).

Other banners, bearing the names of supporters' groups, were held upside down in protest.

"It's a difficult situation, as everyone knows," Deschamps said. "I can understand their disappointment."

Marseille's fans did not spare Bayern winger Franck Ribery either.

He had hoped for a warm welcome from the fans who worshipped him when he played for Marseille from 2005-07, but his name was jeered as soon as the stadium announcer read it out, and then every time he touched the ball.

"Franck was very motivated before the game, I thought he did well," Heynckes said. "People have short memories."

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