Toni’s late brace put Bayern in UEFA Cup semis

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11 Apr, 2008 Updated Fri 11 Apr 2008 08:27 CEST
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FC Bayern Munich was spared an embarrassing end to their UEFA Cup campaign on Thursday, as Luca Toni’s pair of last minute goals allowed the Bavarian side to squeak past Spain’s FC Getafe and into the semifinals.


Germany’s most successful club struggled to keep up with the humble side from Madrid’s suburbs throughout the second leg of their encounter. Only after going to extra time did Bayern’s expensive Italian striker Toni manage to get a 3-3 draw that was enough to see them through to the next round.

Bayern had given the Spaniards a precious away goal in Munich in their last match that ended 1-1, putting them under immense pressure to win on Thursday. However, even after Getafe went one man down in the 6th minute after Ruben de la Red saw red for bringing down Miroslav Klose, Bayern couldn’t dominate the match.

Playing in front of a home crowd of 16,000, tiny Getafe even managed to shock Bayern in the 44th minute with a goal by Cosmin Contra. And the German giants look set for an ignominious exit from the UEFA Cup until their French midfielder Franck Ribéry put the match into extra time with a goal in the 89th minute.

Getafe fought back and scored what looked to be decisive goals in the 91st and 93rd minutes. But Toni would rain on the Spanish celebration party by getting a brace in the 115th and 120th minutes to put Bayern into the semifinals.

“The team fought for the result, whether it was deserved or not is up for debate. We could only lose today and the team realized that,” said Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. “We made the mistake that we couldn’t get the goal early on.”

Bayern Munich captain and keeper Oliver Khan admitted he had never seen anything like it. With time almost up and Bayern 3-2 down, Kahn sprinted from his goal into the Getafe penalty area and put pressure on the defence for Jose Sosa to whip in a cross which Toni headed home to begin the Bavarians' celebrations.

"It's like I said in the dressing room: I've probably played 140 times in Europe, against Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid, but that'll all be nothing compared to what we we've just been through," said the experienced Kahn, 38, who has been at Bayern since 1994 and is to retire this season.

"When we meet up again in ten years' time, we won't be talking about Real and United, we'll talk about Getafe," he said.




2008/04/11 08:27

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