Robben apologises for snubbing Van Gaal

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The Independent Football

Arjen Robben may have been Bayern Munich's Champions League star once again but he was still forced to issue an apology following the 1-0 win in the first leg of their semi-final against Lyon.

Robben, whose goals against Fiorentina and Manchester United led the Germans to the last four, scored the only goal at the Allianz Arena but then reacted petulantly towards his manager Louis van Gaal when he was taken off with just minutes remaining. The two Dutchmen had a confrontation on the touchline as Robben ignored Van Gaal's outstretched hand. The former Netherlands manager then blocked his countryman and held him while explaining his reasons for bringing him off. Robben admitted afterwards his reaction was born of frustration.

"I had a really good feeling and felt I was really in the game and I could have scored another goal," he said. "Therefore, I could not understand why I was being removed. But I have got to apologise to all of the fans because I shouldn't do that. I should have been more professional, but this is just part of my mentality – I always want to win."

Van Gaal insisted Robben had been taken off to preserve him for the weekend Bundesliga clash against Borussia Monchengladbach. "We need him to score goals for us in Monchengladbach too," he said.

The spat was a downside on a good night for Bayern, although they may regret not pressing home their advantage when the contest became 10 versus 10 following Jeremy Toulalan's red card at the start of the second half. Toulalan followed Bayern's Franck Ribery in being sent off, the France international dismissed for a 37th-minute lunge on Lisandro Lopez.

Uefa will decide next Wednesday whether Ribery will face any more than the automatic one-game ban for his red card. The France winger will definitely miss the return encounter but its disciplinary committee will sit down to discuss the matter the day after the second leg next Tuesday.

Lyon could be forgiven to pointing to their 800km, 10-hour road journey as an excuse for their defeat but their captain Cris was having none of it. "This is not an excuse," the Brazilian said. "If players are hiding behind it, they are not ready to play a European Cup match. There was a good atmosphere in the stadium. It was still a semi-final of the Champions League. Many players do not have the chance to play this kind of meeting. We should enjoy it."