Lewandowski fires Bayern past Chelsea to set up Barcelona clash

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Lewandowski fires Bayern past Chelsea to set up Barcelona clash

Sunday, August 09, 2020

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MUNICH, Germany (AFP) — Robert Lewandowski bagged his Champions League-leading 12th and 13th goals this season as Bayern Munich set up a quarter-final clash with Barcelona after a 4-1 home win over Chelsea in yesterday's last-16 second leg.

Leading 3-0 from the first leg at Stamford Bridge in February before the coronavirus pandemic halted the competition, treble-chasing Bayern underlined their dominance to progress 7-1 on aggregate.

The Bundesliga and German Cup champions will meet Barcelona next Friday in Lisbon for a place in the semi-finals.

Lewandowski netted a penalty with just 10 minutes gone at Allianz Arena. Winger Ivan Perisic then doubled Bayern's lead before England striker Tammy Abraham tapped home a loose ball to give Chelsea brief hope.

However, replacement midfielder Corentin Tolisso put the result beyond doubt when he fired home a Lewandowski pass with 14 minutes to go.

This was a world-class display from Lewandowski who played a hand in all four goals, adding a late header to his pair of assists.

After a ruthless display in the first leg, Bayern picked up where they left off six months ago.

They took the lead when Serge Gnabry, who scored twice in London, spotted the run into the box of Lewandowski who was tripped by Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero.

The Poland striker was initially flagged offside, but VAR ruled otherwise. Caballero was booked and Lewandowski converted the resulting penalty for his 12th goal in seven Champions League games.

He turned provider on 24 minutes as Bayern kept up the pressure.

After Mateo Kovacic lost possession near the halfway line, the ball was worked to Lewandowski who squared for Perisic to fire home.

Former Bayern target Callum Hudson-Odoi, who was linked with a move to Munich at the start of the season, beat Manuel Neuer on 28 minutes only for the goal to be ruled out by VAR for an offside.

However, Chelsea pulled a goal back just before half-time.

Bayern goalkeeper Neuer could only parry a shot by Hudson-Odoi and Abraham tapped home the loose ball on 44 minutes to make it 2-1 at the break.

Mason Mount forced Neuer into a low save early in the second half, while Bayern lost defender Jerome Boateng to a leg injury with an hour gone. He was replaced by Niklas Suele as Perisic made way for Brazil playmaker, Philippe Coutinho.

Bayern Coach Hansi Flick also changed both defensive midfielders, Thiago Alcantara and Joshua Kimmich, for the final 20 minutes.

It paid off twofold as moments later Tolisso, on for Alcantara, made it 3-1 when he turned home Lewandowski's pass on 76 minutes.

Alvaro Odriozola, on for Kimmich, then supplied the silky cross on 84 minutes which Lewandowski headed home for his 53rd goal in 44 games this season.

Meanwhile, Lionel Messi scored a brilliant solo goal as Barcelona battled past Napoli, also yesterday.

Messi's weaving run and finish came between an early Clement Lenglet header and a Luis Suarez penalty, won by Messi, as Barca stormed to a 3-0 lead in the first half at Camp Nou.

Lorenzo Insigne gave Napoli hope just before the interval with his own spot kick but, despite a nervy second period, Barcelona held on to win 3-1 on the night and 4-2 on aggregate.

After finishing five points behind Real Madrid in La Liga, Barca resumed in the Champions League with doubts hanging over the form of the team and the future of their coach.

Quique Setien said on Friday he had not considered resigning but failure in Europe, after a turbulent domestic campaign, would likely take the decision out of his hands.

Victory against Napoli eases the pressure but a disjointed second half will not inspire confidence, even with Messi seemingly rejuvenated after three weeks' rest.

Napoli, whose own league season only finished last weekend, should have had the advantage of rhythm, but a disastrous first half left them with too much to do.

Their central defender Kalidou Koulibaly, linked with a move to several elite European clubs this summer, endured a particularly disappointing night.


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