Arturo Vidal struck once again against Benfica at the Estadio da Luz last night to help Bayern clinch a narrow win over the Águias in the Champions League quarter final 2nd leg. Bayern are now into their fifth successive semi final in Europe’s elite club competition.

With Barcelona out of the equation, thanks to a spirited performance from Atletico Madrid, Bayern look set to be the biggest contenders to win the European crown this year. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the Bavarians enroute to the semi finals, with Juventus followed by Benfica really putting the team to test.

Benfica, who currently lead the Primeira Liga table in Portugal by 2 points over Sporting, gave a warm welcome to the Die Roten. However, it was the away team with all the possession in the early minutes.

On the 25th minute, Benfica led a counter attack against the run of play which they were able to convert into a goal. Eliseu’s curling cross from the left was met by Jimenez who gave the home crowd a reason to start believing. Rui Vittoria’s men should have doubled their lead soon when Jimenez failed to capitalise from 8 yards after a defensive scramble by the Bayern defense.

Vidal soon got himself on the score sheet while shortly after half time, Thomas Muller gave Bayern the lead and doubled their advantage over the two legs. Benfica were able to secure a consolation free kick goal when Martinez brought down Guedes in a tackle that seemed worthy of a red card. The referee however only showed a yellow.

The final score stayed 2-2 and Bayern will have to wait for the draw at Nyon on Friday to find out who their opponents will be between Real, Man City and Atletico.

Benfica training session

PLAYER RATINGS

Benfica

Ederson Moraes (6/10):

Did everything by the book, made a couple of decent saves. Was a good outing overall for the keeper.

Andre Almeida – (5/10):

A very tough test against Ribery and Bernat and he didn’t fare all too well. Had a long range shot denied.

Victor Lindelof – (5/10):

Had a mixed game. At times he was able squeeze possession out by establishing a good working rapport with his teammates, but was constantly getting caught napping by Vidal’s darting runs through.

Jardel – 5/10:

Despite the average rating, he had a solid outing keeping Muller in check throughout the first half, intercepting crosses, making tackles and getting in the way of Bayern’s free flowing possession game. But he lost his man when it really mattered.

Eliseu – 6/10:

He played his part in the defense, stood his ground at times on the left flank, took a free kick in the early minutes of the game and provided the crucial pass to set up the first goal.

Pizzi – 4/10: 

Produced his skill show in bits and parts as he nutmegged Bernat, but was largely found missing throughout the game.

Ljubomir Fejsa – 5/10:

Another player who did very well in the first half only to go missing in the second half as Bayern’s tempo increased.

Renato Sanches – 8/10:

Continued where he left in the first leg, terrorising the defense with through balls.

Raul Jimenez – 6/10

Disappeared after scoring the opening goal, wasn’t able to hold his ground against Bayern’s defenders and couldn’t shield the ball or pick out teammates.

E. Salvio – (4/10)

He showed his pace and trickery with the ball and was able to put in a good cross. But could have tested the Bayern defense more with his crosses.

M. Carcela – (3/10)

Lot of pace, but no end product. Was largely missing in the game.

Bayern Munich

Neuer – (4/10)

Another mistake from the tall German number 1, allowing Benfica to score the opening goal. He made a similar mistake against Juventus too in the quarter finals. Wasn’t tested enough by Benfica.

Lahm – (7/10)

Ever so reliable in big matches, always provided width on the flanks. Provided the crucial assist for Vidal for the opening goal.

Alaba – (6/10)

Was a quiet show from him by his standards but didn’t make any mistakes.

Thiago – (7/10)

Made a lot of runs in the box, picked out teammates with his crisp passes and creativity. Managed to do all that is usually expected of him.

Martinez – (6/10) 

Lucky not to be sent off for a foul which resulted in a free kick goal. But other than that, had a great outing as he set up Muller’s second goal with a headed assist.

Vidal – (9/10)

Easily Bayern’s best player on the field with his trademark tackling, tremendous display of energy and character, chasing balls and creating passes. Headed the first goal home. Was excellent throughout and also managed to avoid a second yellow which would have kept him out of the first leg of the semi finals.

Xabi Alonso – (8/10)

Switched play from side to side, picked out teammates with his long passes. It was trademark Xabi Alonso. Ribery and Costa often found so much space because of his vision and creative passing. However, the defensive aspect of his game is still missing.

Costa – (7/10)

Did what he does best, make runs through the flanks, cut in low crosses, or dribbles by cutting in. Was a constant attacking threat who also contributed defensively.

Joshua Kimmich – (7/10)

The young makeshift centre back rose to the occasion once again as he calmly collected himself after conceding a dangerous free kick in the early minutes of the game.

Ribery – (7/10)

The Frenchman will give Almeida nightmares after Wednesday with his dribbling skills, off the ball positions and twisting and turning. Could have done better with the final balls though.

Muller – (7/10)

Had very little influence in the game playing as a false nine, but he did what was needed when the time came.

MANAGER RATINGS

Bayern Munich vs Benfica Lisbon

Vitoria – (6/10)

As he himself acknowledged in the post match press conference, there is little shame in losing to Bayern Munich. Gave a tough fight to the European giants, instructed his players well, organised the defense with the squad he had at his disposal against behemoths like Ribery, Muller and Thiago Alcantara.

Guardiola – (8/10)

Took a big decision by choosing not to start Lewandowski after a minor accident in the week. Also fielded Ribery in place of the outstanding Kingsley Coman. All his gambles paid off.

Milan in sight for Bayern

Benfica will concentrate on the league knowing they did all they could against the might of Bayern. Bayern will host Schalke up next as they look to keep Dortmund in check in the Bundesliga. They do so however with one eye on Friday’s draw in Nyon where their opponents will be determined.

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