Bayern Munich qualified for the Champions League semi-finals for a fifth successive season as they clinched a 3-2 aggregate victory over Benfica on Wednesday.
Arturo Vidal had scored the winner when the sides met in Munich last week and was on hand to cancel out Raul Jimenez’s opener during the first half of a 2-2 draw in Lisbon on Wednesday.
Benfica soaked up sustained Bayern pressure in the early stages at Estadio da Luz, but broke the deadlock against the run of play through a Jimenez header.
Vidal’s powerful leveller provided Pep Guardiola’s men with a healthy cushion to defend, leaving Benfica needing two goals by the end of 90 minutes to progress.
Thomas Muller put the match to bed after the break, with his goal effectively ending home hopes of a maiden last-four appearance of the Champions League era.
Talisca scored from a 76th-minute free-kick to reduce the deficit, but the damage had already been done, with Bayern now facing the possibility of a clash with Manchester City – Guardiola’s future employers – in the last four.
Bayern’s first-leg advantage was almost wiped out within three minutes, when Joshua Kimmich conceded a soft free-kick in a dangerous position and Eliseu’s low drive ran wide via a deflection off the wall.
The visitors survived that early scare and started to exert some pressure, but struggled to test Ederson in the Benfica goal.
Muller turned wide from a Philipp Lahm cross after 19 minutes as Bayern continued to dominate possession, while David Alaba’s skewed effort moments later only served to increase German frustrations.
Vidal failed to get enough power on his header from a lofted Thiago Alcantara ball into the box, with Ederson eventually able to gather, and Bayern were ultimately made to pay for their lack of final product by a great demonstration of vision from Eliseu.
The 32-year-old sent a high ball forward for the advancing Jimenez to head home, with Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer uncharacteristically wayward in his attempts to punch clear.
Benfica could easily have been two up three minutes later, but Jimenez prodded straight at Neuer from the centre of the box.
And Bayern punished that squandered opportunity when an unmarked Vidal rifled home on the half-volley from the edge of the box after Ederson had inadvertently parried a cross into his path.
Vidal lifted an effort over before the break, but Bayern did not have to wait long after the restart for a goal that effectively settled the tie.
Xabi Alonso’s 52nd-minute corner was headed back across goal by Javi Martinez for Muller to tap beyond Ederson.
Douglas Costa hit the right-hand post on the hour, but Benfica were not without their own chances and Andre Almeida forced Neuer to tip over his crossbar from distance when Bayern failed to clear their lines, before Alaba was caught marginally offside in teeing up Muller for a simple finish.
Ederson’s blushes were spared when his spillage from a Vidal strike resulted in a corner rather than another Bayern goal after 72 minutes, but Martinez was lucky to escape with a yellow card when he brought down a sprinting Goncalo Guedes on the edge of the box.
Talisca curled home the resulting free-kick and almost repeated the trick soon after, but Benfica still needed two goals to progress – a mountain that proved too big to climb.
Key Opta stats:
– Muller has now scored 36 Champions League goals, at least 10 more than any other German player. He has eight goals this season in the Champions League, his joint-best CL goal tally in a season (8, also 2012-13).
– Vidal netted in back-to-back CL games for the first time since November 2013.
– Bayern have now reached the Champions League semi-final stage in six of the last seven seasons.
– Benfica scored their first direct free-kick goal in the Champions League since October 2011 (v Basel).
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