Baku-APA. Second-half goals by Mario MandÅ¾ukiÄ‡ and Claudio Pizarro enabled FC Bayern München to defeat Juventus 2-0 for the second time in eight days and reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. The German title winners dealt capably with the threat of a willing Juventus side in the first half, and soon after Arjen Robben struck a post in the second, MandÅ¾ukiÄ‡ headed in from close range on 64 minutes to end any prospect of an unlikely quarter-final comeback, APA reports quoting uefa.com.
Pizarro's low strike in added time merely heightened the misery for Juventus, for whom this was a first reverse in Europe at their new stadium. The only downside for the victors was the first-half booking MandÅ¾ukiÄ‡ received which rules him out of the semi-final first leg.
The Italian hosts pressed hard from the off but Mirko VuÄiniÄ‡'s shot from a good position failed to trouble Manuel Neuer, while Claudio Marchisio missed the target from distance. Bayern were more dangerous with their first attack, Simone Padoin blocking a short-range effort by MandÅ¾ukiÄ‡ following Franck Ribéry's clever pass.
Andrea Pirlo did go close after 23 minutes with a powerful free-kick from the edge of the box, but Neuer was up to the task, getting two strong fists to the ball to beat it away. Soon after, Paul Pogba found space on the right yet none of his team-mates could apply the final touch to his dangerous low cross.
Ten minutes before the interval, visiting coach Jupp Heynckes lost Daniel Van Buyten to injury, replacing the centre-back with Jérôme Boateng. Bayern – who clinched the Bundesliga title with six games to spare last weekend – finished the opening half forcefully, David Alaba forcing Gianluigi Buffon into a difficult save with a powerful strike following a corner from the right.
Like the first period, Juventus started positively after the break and threatened when Fabio Quagliarella tried his luck with a strong right-footed shot after dribbling past Philipp Lahm. Just before the hour, though, Bayern went even closer. Ribéry, on the counterattack, found MandÅ¾ukiÄ‡ on the edge of the area and the forward knocked the ball down to Robben, who hit the upright with a curling attempt.
Minutes later, however, the Juventus Stadium did fall silent. Bastian Schweinsteiger delivered a free-kick from the left and while Buffon made a superb stop to keep out Javi Martínez's volley, he could do nothing to prevent MandÅ¾ukiÄ‡ heading in the rebound.
Thomas Müller could have added a swift second but missed the target after a pass by Robben. Instead, substitute Pizarro put the seal on Bayern's third semi-final qualification in four seasons with the last act of the match, taking a measured Schweinsteiger pass in his stride and firing across Buffon.