Football Football

Gomez and Robben sink troubled Marseille


MARSEILLE, France April 29 – Bayern Munich took control of their Champions League quarter-final against Marseille with a 2-0 win at Stade Velodrome on Wednesday that condemned OM to an eighth defeat in nine matches.

With Steve Mandanda suspended, Marseille coach Didier Deschamps chose to field third-choice goalkeeper Elinton Andrade but the move backfired in the 44th minute when the Brazilian allowed Mario Gomez’s shot to slip beneath him.

The 32-year-old was making his first appearance since January 2011 and he was beaten again by Arjen Robben in the 69th minute as Bayern took a commanding grip on the tie ahead of next Tuesday’s return leg.

“We realised our objective by winning here without conceding any goals,” said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes.

“Marseille play emotional football, so it was very important for us to get this result tonight.”

It was a sixth consecutive success for Heynckes’ side, whose thoughts may already be turning to a likely semi-final showdown with Real Madrid for the right to reach the May 19 final at their own Allianz Arena stadium.

Deschamps was left to rue the timing of Bayern’s opener.

“I think that until the (first) goal, we’d done things pretty well,” he said.

“Then we let in the goal, and it hurt us. It was just before half-time. Given what we’d done up to that point, it was hard to go in 1-0 down at half-time.

“There’s still a chance. It’s small, after a 2-0 (loss) in the first leg. We’re not in the best situation.”

Having seen their team beaten seven times in succession prior to Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Nice, OM’s fans unfurled several protest banners ahead of kick-off, including one that read: “Deschamps and your players, get lost!”

Deschamps had proclaimed Bayern “favourites” in Tuesday’s pre-game press conference but it was his side who threatened first, with Loic Remy grazing the post after Manuel Neuer did well to parry Rod Fanni’s header.

However, with former OM favourite Franck Ribery roundly jeered every time his bright orange boots touched the ball, Bayern began to boss possession and thread dangerous passes into the hosts’ 18-yard area.

OM managed to keep their opponents at arm’s length, but in his haste to prevent one raid by Gomez, Alou Diarra picked up a booking that rules him out of the return leg.

Remy tested Neuer with a low drive in the 42nd minute but with half-time in sight, Bayern made the breakthrough amid controversial circumstances.

An apparent handball by Philipp Lahm went unpunished and Bayern broke forward, culminating in a powerful strike by Gomez from the edge of the box that slipped beneath Andrade and into the net.

It was Gomez’s 11th goal in this season’s competition, taking him to within one goal of top scorer Lionel Messi.

In response, Andre Ayew saw a tame header fielded by Neuer, before a quick-fire exchange of opportunities at both ends in the 59th minute.

After Andrade had blocked with his legs from Gomez, Remy picked Jerome Boateng’s pocket on the edge of the Bayern box and prodded a shot towards goal that Neuer diverted wide with his left foot.

Deschamps bolstered his attack by introducing striker Brandao in place of attacking midfielder Morgan Amalfitano but moments later Bayern doubled their lead.

After OM made a mess of a quick free-kick, play switched to Bayern’s right flank and Robben played a neat one-two with Thomas Muller before steering the ball past Andrade to claim his eighth goal in six games.

An air of resignation descended upon the Velodrome thereafter, with Bayern’s supporters chanting in unison through the closing stages and Marseille’s players seemingly resigned to their fate.