Bayern stay perfect in Champions League, edge CSKA Moscow
Bayern Munich overcame a stubborn CSKA Moscow outfit to record their 100th UEFA Champions League victory with a 1-0 triumph on Tuesday.
Thomas Muller's first-half penalty proved decisive for Pep Guardiola's side in the Group E clash at an empty Arena Khimki, which was closed to supporters due to UEFA-imposed sanctions after CSKA fans displayed "a range of racist and far-right symbols" in a Champions League match with Viktoria Plzen last December.
Bayern did the double over CSKA in last season's competition, but the Russian champions were no pushovers and Ahmed Musa and Roman Eremenko both went close to canceling out the deficit in the first half.
But Bayern, which has now kept six straight clean sheets in all competitions, was just as dominant after the break and comfortably produced a repeat of its result in the group-stage opener against Manchester City. The victory -- which brings up a century of successes for the Germans since the new format for Europe's elite tournament was introduced in 1992 -- makes it nine unbeaten for Guardiola's men.
Leonid Slutsky's defensive plan was evident from the start, with the host happy to keep 11 men behind the ball in an attempt to frustrate Bayern, which started with a back three in the absence of Jerome Boateng (rested) and Holger Badstuber (thigh).
CSKA did launch a rare foray forward inside the opening 10 minutes as Eremenko found Musa, but the Nigerian's shot was well over the crossbar. Mario Gotze spurned a more presentable opportunity at the other end with a poorly struck shot from inside the box, while Arjen Robben's effort from the edge of the area forced Igor Akinfeev into a smart near-post save.
Spain international Xabi Alonso got a sight of goal from a long-range free kick in the 17th minute but succeeded only in finding the grateful arms of Akinfeev as Bayern struggled to create clear-cut chances. But the visitor got the boost it needed when Mario Fernandes brought down Gotze in the box and Muller - who also scored a penalty in Bayern's 3-1 triumph at CSKA in last season's Champions League - converted from the spot after 22 minutes.
That setback forced CSKA out of its shell, and Eremenko fired a dangerous shot just over Manuel Neuer's goal in the home side's next attack. And it should have leveled nine minutes before the interval when Musa - who netted in the 5-1 loss to Roma a fortnight ago - raced through with only Neuer to beat but powered his shot straight at the goalkeeper's chest.
Eremenko struck the crossbar late in the first half as CKSA sent a timely reminder to Bayern that it was still in the match. The start to the second period was lively, with Musa almost capitalizing on some hesitancy in the Bayern defense before Robert Lewandowski was denied by Georgi Schennikov's excellent block as he looked to pull the trigger.
Slutsky introduced Seydou Doumbia from the bench for the last quarter of the game in the hope that the Ivorian could add to his five goals this season. But he was isolated in attack and it was the Bundesliga champion which continued to look more likely to score, Gotze swerving a shot wide as the away side went in search of a second.
Akinfeev bravely thwarted Xherdan Shaqiri at the death, but one goal proved to be enough for Bayern, which further underlined its status as favorite to win the group, while CSKA face an uphill struggle to claim a qualifying spot after suffering defeat in its opening two games.
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