BAYERN MUNICH 1, MANCHESTER CITY 0 (UEFA Champions League Group E)
Joe Hart keeps City in the game with string of saves; Hart finally beaten in the last minute by Jerome Boateng; David Silva penalty claim turned down
Ex-City defender Jerome Boateng struck a deflected 90th minute winner for Bayern Munich that finally beat Joe Hart on a night where the England ‘keeper made half a dozen super saves to keep City in the game until the very end. There was to be no repeat of last year’s heroics when City beat the Germans in a thrilling match.
David Silva was denied what looked like a good penalty after being brought down by Mehdi Benatia as City struggled to contain Bayern towards the end of their rearguard performance.
Hart was set to be the hero for City as he denied several chances to score for a depleted Bayern Munich side who were without the likes of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Holger Badstuber, Thiago Alcantara, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Javi Martinez in the Allianz Arena.
They still had enough guile to cause City, who made just three changes from the side that drew with Arsenal at the weekend, numerous problems with a formation that daringly used three defenders including Boateng and David Alaba who spent a lot of time testing the space behind Jesus Navas and attacking Sagna.
City’s options were restricted by injuries to in-form Stevan Jovetic, and lynchpin midfielder Fernando and had Bacary Sagna in for the suspended Pablo Zabaleta, Samir Nasri in for James Milner, and Yaya Toure in for Frank Lampard.
Toure missed the draw against Arsenal at the Emirates and had a listless game in midfield, leaving the defensive work in midfield to Fernandinho in the absence of Fernando allowing Bayern to pass their way deep into the City back line.
Bayern had plenty of chances to take the lead as City looked sluggish and porous in the first half.
Thomas Muller could have opened the scoring in the first minute after Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski combined to free him but the midfielder could only find the side netting.
Sagna denied Lewandowski a shot on goal before Hart was called into action to push a Muller header away one handed.
The England ‘keeper was in great form once again to deny Gotze before the wingman’s claim for a penalty off Kompany was waved away. Hart there there again to block a chance by Lewandowski shortly before the break.
City frontman Edin Dzeko had done his share of work and seemed to pick up a back injury while sliding in on Gotze before the break.
James Milner was brought on for Samir Nasri to try and shore up City’s porous midfield as City re-arranged after the break but a couple of mistakes by Joe Hart only afforded more chances for Bayern.
Gotze had a chance blocked, Juan Bernat sent a chance wide, and Benatia headed over as Munich continued to waste chances.
City had a golden chance to stun the home side as David Silva’s header from Jesus Navas’ cross was wide.
Alaba sneaked past Navas but sent his shot wide as City began to wilt against the Bayern onslaught.
Muller was deemed offside after Hart’s mistake from Rafinha’s shot saw the loose ball fall to him, as Bayern continued to pour through the City midfield.
Sergio Aguero was introduced for the labouring Dzeko while Arjen Robben was brought on for the wasteful Muller.
The Dutch winger tried a dramatic looking dive with nine minutes to go to earn a penalty but bizarrely wasn’t booked.
David Silva was denied what looked a much more convincing penalty with six minutes to go when he was brought down by Benatia who failed to get the ball.
Boateng had two late chances in succession to win it as the game approached injury time. He drew another fine late save out of Hart before picking up Philipp Lahm’s cross 15 yards out and striking an effort that deflected off Gotze’s back – the crucial trajectory change that finally left Hart beaten in the last minute.
Aguero spurned a final chance to level the scores in added time but a draw have been a kind result for City.