SEVILLE, Spain (Reuters) - Bayern Munich fought back with a deflected own goal and a late header from Thiago to claim a 2-1 win at Sevilla in an exciting Champions League quarter-final, first leg clash on Tuesday.
Pablo Sarabia had put Sevilla ahead in the 32nd minute when he got the better of Juan Bernat to control Sergio Escudero’s cross and fire home at the back post.
However, five minutes later Bayern levelled when Sevilla’s Jesus Navas agonisingly deflected Franck Ribery’s cross past home goalkeeper David Soria at the near post.
With Sevilla tiring, five-time European champions Bayern took advantage and Thiago headed the winner with the help of a deflection off Sergio Escudero in the 68th minute.
“Sevilla are a good team and it’s not easy here,” said Ribery. “We reacted well to going behind. You can’t make any mistakes, you always have to be awake.”
Experienced Bayen coach Jupp Heynckes said his team needed a slice of fortune to help turn the tide in their favour.
“Psychologically it was very important to equalise quickly, even if it took a bit of luck,” he said. “But if we want to win the Champions League we need to improve.”
Vincenzo Montella’s Sevilla were unlucky to go in level at the break, having had the better of the first half and demonstrating the spirit that saw them knock out Manchester United in the last 16.
Despite the absence of suspended playmaker Ever Banega, the Andalusians defied their underdog label and might have been awarded a penalty when Joaquin Correa was felled by Jerome Boateng but instead he was booked for diving.
Sarabia should then have put the hosts ahead but fired just wide after the ball dropped perfectly for him in front of goal.
The Spanish attacking midfielder made amends with the opening goal before Navas’s own goal levelled the scores.
Sevilla nearly found the net just after the break but Javi Martinez made a superb perfectly timed last-ditch tackle on Franco Vazquez in the area to snuff out the chance.
After that the hosts ran out of steam and Soria had to make a fine save to deny Martinez before Thiago got the winner with a downward header that was deflected from another Ribery cross.
“The team are a bit hurt, but we played against a great side,” said Sevilla midfielder Steven N’Zonzi.
Sevilla now need an unlikely triumph against the Germans in Munich in next Wednesday’s second leg to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time.
“We lost 2-1 and anything can happen in the second leg,” added N’Zonzi. “It’s 90 minutes, 11 against 11, we have a good team and we know it will be very tough, but anything could happen.”
Reporting by Rik Sharma; Editing by Ken Ferris