Soccer-Champions Bayern too strong for 10-man Arsenal


By Mike Collett

LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Both teams missed penalties, Arsenal had goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny sent off and Bayern Munich won an incident-packed Champions League last-16 first leg 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

The holders opened the scoring with a brilliantly executed right-foot curler from Toni Kroos after 54 minutes that gave substitute keeper Lukasz Fabianski no chance.

Arsenal had earlier spurned an opportunity to go ahead when Mesut Ozil's weak penalty was easily saved by Manuel Neuer in the eighth minute.

The home team were then reduced to 10 men when Szczesny was sent off for clattering Arjen Robben after 38 minutes but David Alaba fired his penalty against the foot of the post.

Midfielder Santi Cazorla was taken off when the Arsenal keeper was dismissed but Fabianski had no chance when Thomas Mueller headed the second goal from a Philipp Lahm cross in the 88th minute.

Arsenal, played off the pitch in the opening 20 minutes when they lost 3-1 at home to Bayern at this stage of the competition a year ago to the day, were determined that would not happen again and ripped into the Germans from the start.

The London club's attacking opening should have brought them the lead when Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli awarded a penalty after Jerome Boateng tripped Ozil but the German playmaker wasted the spot kick.

Arsenal kept surging forward with Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain having chances to score.

At the other end Kroos brought a superb flying one-handed saved from Szczesny, his main contribution until he was shown the red card that will mean he misses the second leg in Munich on March 11.

After the sending-off Bayern wrestled control of the midfield with Lahm and Kroos causing problems on the right and Robben marauding down the middle.

The only downside for Bayern was that they did not win by a bigger margin. (Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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