Bayern Munich survive despite Alonso dismissal

Champions League Last 16 First Leg

Xabi Alonso saw his 100th Champions League appearance ended prematurely, although his red card did not cost Bayern Munich as they secured a goalless draw against Shakhtar Donetsk last night.

The first leg of this last-16 tie was a tetchy affair and one which Pep Guardiola’s side managed to get nowhere near the level of performance managed in their 8-0 Bundesliga drubbing of Hamburg at the weekend.

Shakhtar looked rusty — no surprise given they have not played a competitive game since matchday six — and failed to capitalise on Alonso’s second-half sending off.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence with 25 minutes remaining, but it did little to change the match played out in sub-zero temperatures at the Arena Lviv.

Shakhtar are having to play more than 750 miles from Donetsk due to the ongoing political troubles in the region, weakening their chances of recording a first ‘home’ win against Bundesliga visitors since 1980.

They exited the competition at this stage to Borussia Dortmund two years ago and early on it looked like a similar fate would await, with Rafinha forcing Andriy Pyatov into a save inside the opening minute.

The Shakhtar goalkeeper could only watch on helplessly shortly after when Bastian Schweinsteiger met a lovely, clipped ball from Arjen Robben, although the strike flew just wide.

Shakhtar were struggling to get a grip of their visitors and tempers soon began to fray, with Darijo Srna fortunate not to be sent off for moving his head towards Jerome Boateng’s after Alonso was booked for a poor challenge.

Schweinsteiger was unhappy with the close attention of Olexandr Kucher as half-time approached, but referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco ignored the penalty appeals as the opening period ended sloppily.

The Spanish official was having a lot to deal with in what was becoming an increasingly tetchy match, with Douglas Costa perhaps fortunate just to receive a yellow card after catching Ribery with his elbow.

There was a break in play after a challenge between Luiz Adriano and Alonso — a collision both recovered from, albeit the latter was soon exiting the field.

The midfielder was adjudged to have brought down Alex Teixeira and received a second yellow card, reducing Munich to 10 men for the final 25 minutes.

It was one of 35 fouls on the night, with the sides sharing eight bookings and Alonso’s red in a forgettable first leg to a last-16 tie which resumes at the Allianz Arena on March 11.

SHAKHTAR DONETSK: Pyatov, Srna, Kucher, Rakitskiy, Shevchuk, Fernando, Fred, Douglas Costa (Marlos 78), Alex Teixeira, Taison (Wellington Nem 84), Adriano (Gladkiy 89).

BAYERN MUNICH: Neuer, Rafinha, Boateng, Alaba, Schweinsteiger, Alonso, Bernat, Robben, Gotze (Lewandowski 74), Ribery, Muller (Badstuber 69).

Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (Spain).

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