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Bayern edge past Benfica and into semi-finals

Benfica 2-2 Bayern (agg: 2-3)
Raúl Jiménez provided an early scare and Talisca hit the goal of the night but the German visitors struck either side of half-time to seal progress.

Thomas Müller celebrates after putting Bayern 2-1 up
Thomas Müller celebrates after putting Bayern 2-1 up ©Getty Images
  • Bayern through to club best fifth successive semi-final
  • Arturo Vidal nets second goal of tie after Raúl Jiménez levels aggregate score
  • Thomas Müller claims 36th UEFA Champions League goal in 78 games
  • Philipp Lahm plays 103rd game in competition, matching Oliver Kahn's German record
  • Semi-final draw on Friday at 11.30CET, streamed live on UEFA.com

Bayern München are through to the last four of the UEFA Champions League for the fifth season running after coming through a tough examination in Lisbon.

Raúl Jiménez's goal before the half-hour mark briefly brought this quarter-final level but once Arturo Vidal had driven in a killer away goal there was only one likely winner. Thomas Müller made it 2-1 soon after the restart and though Talisca's fine free-kick gained Benfica parity on the night, the Bavarians were home and dry.

Xabi Alonso on moving one step closer
Xabi Alonso on moving one step closer

With Jonas suspended and Nicolás Gaitán and Kostas Mitroglou failing late fitness tests, the hosts were deprived of their chief attacking threats yet it did not prevent them taking a surprise lead. Having spent much of the first 27 minutes imprisoned inside their own half, Benfica made a break for it.

It culminated in Eliseu lofting an exquisite ball into the box. Manuel Neuer came for it but was deceived by the flight and Jiménez stole in to nod into the empty net. Briefly, the shock was on. How different it could have been had Jiménez displayed the same poise that he had moments before when Eduardo Salvio's cross found him in space? Instead he snatched at it.

Bayern celebrate
Bayern celebrate©Getty Images

Bayern did not need a second warning. Seven minutes before the interval Vidal drove into the empty net after home goalkeeper Ederson's clearance landed at his feet and suddenly Benfica's optimism vanished – they now needed to score twice. Josep Guardiola's side were leaving nothing to chance, though, and they continued to press.

Müller then made it 2-1 from close range, with only the post denying Douglas Costa a third. Talisca's free-kick meant Benfica bowed out on a positive note but Bayern marched on.

Analysis from Andy James at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica

Arturo Vidal
Arturo Vidal©AFP/Getty Images

Key player: Arturo Vidal
The Chilean may not have stood out particularly on the night yet over the two legs he undoubtedly made the biggest impact. Scorer of Bayern's first-leg winner, Vidal's thumping leveller in the return was the dagger to Benfica hearts. The combative midfielder was instrumental in Juventus reaching last year's final and his combined drive and experience may still help Bayern make this season's decider.

Benfica had their chance ...
... and blew it. When Jiménez gave Benfica a surprise advantage, Bayern were clearly shaken. The Eagles sensed this and piled on the pressure, creating another glorious chance for Jiménez. The Mexican, in space in the box, snatched and allowed Neuer to save. Had he scored, Bayern spirits would have further sunk and things could have turned out differently. As it transpired, Rui Vitória's team were left wondering what might have been.

Talisca after his free-kick
Talisca after his free-kick©Getty Images

Absences felt 
Bayern were always favourites to progress but after a creditable 2-2 second-leg draw, many Benfica fans will be asking themselves what might have happened had their side been at full strength. The creativity of Gaitán and threat of Jonas were absent due to injury and suspension, and the late omission of Mitroglu left the hosts short of attacking options. All this, against a makeshift Bayern defence which at times looked vulnerable.

©Getty Images
©Getty Images
©Getty Images
©AFP/Getty Images
©AFP/Getty Images
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©Getty Images