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Saturday 16 December 2017

Centurion Xabi Alonso sees red as Munich draw comfort in Donetsk

Xabi Alonso of Muenchen leaves the field after receiving the Red card during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between FC Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Bayern Muenchen at Arena Lviv on February 17, 2015 in Lviv, Ukraine
Xabi Alonso of Muenchen leaves the field after receiving the Red card during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between FC Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Bayern Muenchen at Arena Lviv on February 17, 2015 in Lviv, Ukraine

Xabi Alonso saw his 100th Champions League appearance ended prematurely, although his red card did not cost Bayern Munich as they secured a goalless draw against Shakhtar Donetsk.

The first leg of this last-16 tie was a tetchy affair and one which Pep Guardiola’s side managed to get nowhere near the level of performance managed in their 8-0 Bundesliga drubbing of Hamburg at the weekend.

Shakhtar looked rusty - no surprise given they have not played a competitive game since matchday six - and failed to capitalise on Alonso’s second-half sending off.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence with 25 minutes remaining, but it did little to change the match played out in sub-zero temperatures at the Arena Lviv, Shakhtar having to play more than 750 miles from Donetsk due to the ongoing troubles in the region.

It was one of 35 fouls on the night, with the sides sharing eight bookings and Alonso’s red in a forgettable first leg to a last-16 tie which resumes on March 11.

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