Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho under fire for negative tactics that let Bayern Munich get lucky
Cautious approach and hapless Fabio Coentrao blamed for last-minute first-leg defeat in Munich
Thursday 19 April 2012
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the Bayern Munich chairman, fancies his side's chances of reaching the Champions League final – to be held at their own stadium – after Mario Gomez's 90th-minute goal gave them a 2-1 home victory over Real Madrid in the first leg of their last-four tie on Tuesday night.
"It was an emotion-laden match," Rummenigge said. "Real showed just what a good team they are. They played very well at the start, but they were a little shocked by our [first] goal. What they have up front with [Karim] Benzema, [Mesut] Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo is first class.
"At the end we had the luck on our side and we won 2-1. We can be proud of the victory. We're not without a chance in Madrid."
Bayern's players were also bullish about their chances of going through, although Gomez yesterday sounded a note of caution by admitting 2-1 was a "dangerous" result. "It's always positive when you win in the last minute," Gomez said. "You don't play down having Real as the opposition. Apart from the early minutes of the first and second half, we've done very well. We're angry about conceding a goal.
"[Jose] Mourinho has made a team out of a group of individuals at Real, but they didn't show it last night, which is to our credit. A 2-1 win is a dangerous result, but we're always good for a goal with the strength we have up front."
Philipp Lahm, who set up Gomez's dramatic winner, added: "The second goal was vital. Madrid will have to come at us now, and that obviously plays to our strengths. We can afford to sit back a little."
The manner of Real's reverse raised questions in Spain about the tactics of Mourinho and prompted sharp criticism of hapless left-back Fabio Coentrao. After falling behind to Franck Ribéry's 17th-minute strike, Real battled back to 1-1 when Ozil tapped in what could prove a priceless away goal eight minutes after the break at the Allianz Arena.
Instead of going for the kill, Mourinho appeared willing to settle for a draw and hauled off the creative pair of Ozil and Angel di Maria, replacing them with full-back Marcelo and defensive midfielder Esteban Granero rather than Kaka.
Coentrao was unable to cope with Ribéry and Arjen Robben and allowed Lahm to skip past him and cross for Gomez's winner, sealing Real's first defeat in Europe's elite club competition this season.
Although he was given unequivocal backing by his coach and team-mates, the latest below-par performance from the 24-year-old was rubbished in the Spanish sports press. Marca noted that it was Coentrao, who was criticised recently after being photographed smoking in public "as a birthday celebration", who conceded the free-kick that allowed CSKA Moscow to score a late equaliser in their last-16 first leg in February.
"The €30m full-back saved the best until last [against Bayern] when he was very late closing down Lahm, who was able to cross under no pressure for Mario Gomez to score," the paper wrote sarcastically.
It also speculated whether the Benfica fans had erected a statue of their club president for convincing Real to pay so much last year for the Portugal international, who had an unsuccessful stint on loan at La Liga side Real Zaragoza in the 2008-09 season. He did, however, impress at the South Africa World Cup in 2010.
Coentrao's team-mates preferred to focus on the positives from Tuesday's game as they prepared for Saturday's Clasico at bitter rivals Barcelona. Centre-back Pepe said Real's "quality" should see them through to next month's final where they would meet holders Barça or Chelsea.
"We believe in our strengths and I am convinced we will get to the final," Ozil, who plays in the Germany side with many of the Bayern players, said. "I am a bit sad about the defeat but I have a positive feeling. We'll meet again in Munich."
The Bayern coach, Jupp Heynckes, who led Real to the European Cup in 1998, will have noted Coentrao's weaknesses and the Portuguese defender can expect another torrid time in Wednesday's second leg at the Bernabeu – if he is selected.
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