VILLARREAL - Bayern Munich's quest
for a place in the Champions League final at their own Allianz
Arena next May got off to a strong start with a 2-0 win at
Villarreal in their opening Group A game on Wednesday.
Toni Kroos put them ahead after only seven minutes and the
European heavyweights, making their 250th European Cup
appearance, dominated for the rest of the match.
Substitute Rafinha sealed the result with a wonderful piece
of skill to create and score the second goal in the 76th.
It was Bayern's seventh consecutive victory in all
competitions, with 21 scored and none conceded, and they moved
straight to the top of the group with Manchester City drawing
1-1 at home to Napoli.
"I am pleased because this team has proved it can compete in
Europe," Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes told reporters.
"It's a difficult stadium and winning has given us
confidence for the coming games. It was a first half where we
managed to gain an advantage, and a second where we dominated
Bayern quickly took command at the Madrigal with Franck
Ribery in particular causing havoc in the home defence.
The French international dribbled down the left flank and
pulled back for Kroos to side-foot a shot inside the far post.
Villarreal tried to react but only had a couple of glimpses
of goal before the break which Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gaspar
failed to put away.
They lifted their game for a while in the second half, but
as a side accustomed to dominating possession, they laboured as
Bayern refused to relinquish the ball.
Home keeper Diego Lopez was the busier and Kroos should have
killed off the game for the Germans earlier when he fired
against the post from close range in the 69th minute.
Rafinha, a first half substitute for the injured Daniel van
Buyten, ended Villarreal's hopes when he dribbled off the right,
nutmegged his marker and smashed the ball past a surprised Lopez
at his near post.
"The first goal, after only seven minutes, conditioned the
rest of the match physically, tactically and psychologically,"
Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido said.
"In the Champions League you play against the best in the
world. We need to draw conclusions and try and improve."
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