MUNICH: Jerome Boateng struck in the final minute to give Bayern Munich a 1-0 win over Manchester City in the sides’ opening Champions League game in Group E on Wednesday.
Boateng scored with a wonderful half-volley that took a light deflection before flying inside the far post after the visitors failed to clear Arjen Robben’s corner.
“We had so many chances to score, but we wasted all of them until the last minute. The ball came absolutely perfectly to me and I thought to myself, this one I will hit into the roof of the net and that’s what I did,” the defender said after scoring against his former side.
It was looking like goalkeeper Joe Hart’s inspired performance would be enough to salvage a draw for the Premier League side, which went closest through David Silva’s flying header wide of the post in the 63rd minute.
“We fought hard all night against a good team and we had chances all night. We knew we were going to be in for a tough game,” Hart said.
“The goal’s come from a deflection in the end, and Jerome has come back to haunt us.”
City substitute Sergio Aguero came close to equalizing in injury time, only to poke the ball wide under pressure from Bayern ‘keeper Manuel Neuer.
It was the third meeting in four seasons between the sides, with Bayern avenging defeat at home to the City in their final group game last December, when the English side ended the 2013 champion’s competition record ten-game winning run.
In the group’s other game, Roma defeated CSKA Moscow 5-1 in Rome.
Thomas Mueller, Robert Lewandowski and David Alaba all had good chances in a frustrating first half for Bayern, but Hart thwarted their efforts with a series of brilliant stops.
“The goal is the most difficult part of the game, to score a score. It’s not easy to create so many chances,” Bayern coach Pep Guardiola said.
“We tried, and deserved the victory. We know how difficult the group is and a victory for the start is very, very important for us.”
Mueller almost gave the home side a dream start when Lewandowski played him through in the first minute, but he only hit the side netting after rounding the goalkeeper.
“As long as the team wins, I’ll lie in bed tonight with a smile,” Mueller said about his missed chances.
City finally enjoyed some possession after Bayern bossed the opening minutes, and Edin Dzeko tested Neuer at the near post in the 13th.
The Bosnian striker, familiar to fans from his time at Bundesliga rival Wolfsburg, was to be a thorn in Bayern’s side until his replacement in the 74th by Aguero.
Dzeko’s curled shot whizzed past the far post and again went close in the 29th minute.
Sandwiched between his two efforts, Hart again came to the rescue for City with Mueller and Goetze denied.
David Alaba fired narrowly wide, and then drew another stop from Hart, who was relieved to see the rebound elude a number of waiting Bayern players.
Lewandowski then hit the side netting in a similar manner to Mueller.
After rounding the goalkeeper he failed to net and those frustrations grew for the home side in the second half.
Bayern had a penalty appeal waved away when Bacary Sagna appeared to impede Mehdi Benatia, who was making his competitive debut following his move from Roma for a 26 million euro (USD34 million) in the offseason.
Silva went dangerously close with his header from Jesus Navas’ cross and Bayern needed the experience of Xabi Alonso to mop up the danger as nerves began to set in late on.
There were penalty claims at either end for Robben and Silva, but Boateng was to have the final say.