MILAN - Mario Gomez struck a last-ditch
goal to give Bayern Munich a 1-0 win at holders Inter Milan on
Wednesday and a good chance of avenging last year's Champions
League final loss to the Italians.
Inter keeper Julio Cesar failed to hold a long-range shot
from Arjen Robben and Gomez pounced on the rebound to score in
the final minute of normal time, leaving last year's champions
with a huge task to avoid an early exit.
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Bayern, 2-0 losers in Madrid last season to the team then
coached by Jose Mourinho, looked more dangerous throughout the
last-16 first-leg tie, although the hosts also created openings.
"Inter surprised me," Bayern coach Louis van Gaal told
reporters. "They played to win and that is very beautiful. The
whole world has seen a wonderful game and I think both sets of
fans could be happy with this game.
"That is what football is about and having enjoyment in
football. In the final last year, they attacked less than they
today and got a better result. But that's football."
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Inter had an early chance when defender Andrea Ranocchia
side-footed wide from a free kick but Bayern then looked more
Luiz Gustavo was twice close while Franck Ribery, always
dangerous with the ball at his feet, headed against the crossbar
from Robben's curling cross.
Samuel Eto'o was Inter's most threatening player, having a
penalty appeal turned down, creating a good chance for Esteban
Cambiasso and then producing a brilliant reflex save from Thomas
Kraft before halftime.
Fullback Maicon had Inter's best first half chance in
stoppage time when was given a clear shot on goal but fired
Robben continually tormented Inter and hit the post early in
the second half, then struck another effort over the crossbar
after cutting inside with one of his trademark runs
In between, Inter missed a sitter when Eto'o had another
shot saved by Kraft and Cambiasso, unmarked, fired over from the
Inter finished with a flourish as Thiago Motta was foiled by
Kraft and an Eto'o shot went agonisingly wide.
"Bayern had more ball possession but our chances were better
than Bayern's," Inter coach Leonardo said.
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