Unflappable Bayern expose Juventus shortcomings
TURIN, Italy (Reuters) - An unflappable Bayern Munich reached the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday as Juventus were given a harsh reminder of the gap between themselves and Europe's elite after their campaign fizzled out in a 2-0 home defeat.
The German side, 2-0 ahead from the first leg, survived a predictably furious Juventus start and by the end were strolling to a 4-0 aggregate win against the team which has dominated Serie A for the last 18 months.
Second-half goals from Mario Mandzukic and Claudio Pizarro silenced the Juventus stadium and kept the Bavarians, who were crowned Bundesliga champions with six games to spare on Saturday, on course for the treble.
Juventus, backed by a raucous crowd at their sparkling new stadium, huffed and puffed but were not quite creative enough to cause Bayern more than the odd scare.
Juventus had not lost a home European team since they were beaten 4-1 by the same opponents in 2009/10, and it was a reminder for that despite their domestic dominance, they still have some way before they can challenge for Europe's top honour.
Their exit left Serie A without a representative in the semi-finals for the second year running while Bayern joined compatriots Borussia Dortmund and Spanish duo Real Madrid and Barcelona in the last four.
Juventus coach Antonio Conte had warned beforehand that twice former European champions Juventus, still rebuilding after the 2006 match-fixing scandal need more time and he repeated the discourse after the match.
"The best side has gone through, they showed that last week and here at this stadium," said Conte.
"We have only been working for 18 months," added Conte, who won Serie A in his first season in charge. "It's a moment where we have to work with what we've got."
"We were not so good defensively in the first 20 minutes and went through a few difficulties," said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes.
"After that, we controlled the game and in the second half we launched lots of good attacks, we showed our qualities, we imposed our style of play."
Juventus, determined to make up for their poor showing in the first leg when they were lucky to escape with a 2-0 defeat, predictably made an aggressive start but Bayern quickly evened the match up.
Manuel Neuer came to Bayern's rescue when he fisted away a rising Andrea Pirlo free kick from the edge of the area and Juve also threatened when Paul Pogba fired a low ball across the face of the goal but nobody was on hand to turn it in.
Juventus attempted to send long balls over the Bayern midfielder for Mirko Vucinic and Fabio Quagliarella to chase but, although the Montenegrin was a handful, the Bayern defence coped well.
David Alaba, who scored in the first leg with a long-range shot which was misjudged by Gianluigi Buffon, had Bayern's best attempt with another effort from distance but this time the Juventus goalkeeper was equal to it and punched it away.
Juventus also started the second half brightly and another Pirlo free kick was deflected but fell kindly for Neuer to save, then Quagliarella hit the foot of the post with a long-range shot.
Bayern came back at them, Arjen Robben hitting the post with a curling effort after he had been cleverly set up by Mandzukic.
Bayern broke through in the 65th minute when Bastian Schweinsteiger floated over a free kick and, although Buffon saved Javi Martinez's shot, Mandzukic headed in the rebound.
Peru striker Pizarro, who replaced Mandzukic, put the gloss on the Bayern win with another goal in stoppage time.
(Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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