Diego Costa’s brilliance earns Atletico Madrid a quarterfinal spot
Bayern Munich, a shadow of the team that has been so imperious in the Bundesliga this season, survived a shaky second half and missed a late penalty against Arsenal on Tuesday to reach the Champions League quarterfinals.
The holder looked less than all-conquering in a 1-1 second-leg draw against Arsenal which was left with too much to do after losing 2-0 at home in the opening match of the last-16 encounter.
Runaway leader Bayern has dropped only four points all season in the Bundesliga, and blasted 15 goals in its previous three games, but was well below its best against the Londoner at the Allianz Arena.
Bastian Schweinsteiger broke the deadlock in the 55th minute before Bayern old boy Lukas Podolski replied almost immediately for Arsenal which grew in confidence and brought out goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s eccentric side.
The Bavarians won a controversial penalty when Arjen Robben reacted theatrically to a foul by Laurent Koscielny in stoppage time and Thomas Muller’s spot kick was superbly stopped by keeper Lukasz Fabianski, ending a run of 13 straight wins in all competitions.
Arsenal lost to the German on away goals at the same stage last season despite winning 2-0 in Munich.
Coach Pep Guardiola said on Tuesday that the lead Bayern held from the first leg prevented his team from going all out on the attack.
Bayern spent most of the first half probing a resilient Arsenal defence that just about managed to hold out.
It was touch and go for Wenger’s men especially when Franck Ribery was free down the left and sent the ball into the middle where Robben failed to connect properly.
Javi Martinez’s goal was disallowed for offside in the 26th minute and Robben had two dangerous efforts cut out by Arsenal defenders as Bayern tried to turn the screw.
Fabianski came to the rescue when he got down to save Mario Gotze’s low shot seconds before the break.
Bayern finally broke through 10 minutes after the restart when Ribery sneaked into the area and laid the ball off for Schweinsteiger to score from eight metres.
The home fans were stunned two minutes later when the referee allowed play to continue even though Podolski seemed to push Philipp Lahm in the box and the Arsenal forward slammed the ball into the roof of the net.
Neuer then had to come out of his box to head the ball clear after Tomas Rosicky tried to send Olivier Giroud clean through.
The Germany keeper had the Bayern fans on edge again when he sent a clearance straight to Giroud but the Bundesliga leader quickly regrouped.
In Madrid, Diego Costa extended his rich vein of form with a double as Atletico Madrid thumped AC Milan 4-1 to send the seven-time winner packing and secure a place in the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in 17 years.
Costa, who struck in Atletico’s 1-0 win at the San Siro in the first leg of the last-16 tie and has seven goals in five appearances in Europe’s elite club competition, opened the scoring in the third minute with an acrobatic volley.
Kaka levelled with a header in the 27th as Milan briefly took control of the match before Arda Turan’s deflected effort sailed into the net five minutes before halftime to restore the home team’s lead.
Raul Garcia headed in Atletico’s third in the 71st minute and Costa struck again five minutes from time to seal a 5-1 aggregate success and crown a near-perfect night.
The results: (pre-quarterfinals): Bayern Munich 1 (Schweinsteiger 55) drew with Arsenal 1 (Podolski 57) (Bayern wins 3-1 on aggregate).
Atletico Madrid 4 (Diego Costa 3, 85, Turan 40, Raul Garcia 71) bt AC Milan 1 (Kaka 27) (Atletico wins 5-1 on aggregate).