Nigeria’s Chukwueze sends Bayern packing

Bayern Munich were sent crashing out of the Champions League as Samuel Chukwueze’s 88th-minute strike secured a dramatic 2-1 aggregate victory for underdogs Villarreal.

Substitute Chukwueze, who had only been on the pitch for four minutes, finished off a rapid counter-attack when he converted Gerard Moreno’s cross to silence the Allianz Arena as Bayern were eliminated at the quarter-final stage for the second year in a row.

Bayern had been pushing for a winner of their own after Robert Lewandowski cancelled out Arnaut Danjuma’s first-leg strike with his 13th Champions League goal of the campaign early in the second half.

But Unai Emery’s side, Europa League winners against Manchester United last season, defended resolutely in the face of heavy Bayern pressure and seized their chance when it came.

Indeed, while Bayern had 45 shots across the two legs and only scored once, Villarreal netted with each of their only two efforts on target, with Chukwueze’s breakaway strike meaning they will face either Liverpool or Benfica in only the second Champions League semi-final in their history.

Villarreal had been deserving victors in the first leg, a game they were unfortunate not to win by a bigger margin, and while Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann promised there would be no repeat of his side’s lacklustre showing back in Germany, the first half brought more of the same.

Bayern, nine points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, struggled to break down the side sitting seventh in La Liga, resorting to a succession of crosses which were, for the most part, easily dealt with by centre-backs Raul Albiol and Pau Torres.

Jamal Masiala did manage to connect with one centre from Leon Goretzka just before the half-hour mark, but the youngster sent his header straight at Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.

It would prove Bayern’s only shot on target of the first period and, while Villarreal spent most of the half camped inside their own half, they looked more incisive than Bayern when springing forward.

Moreno fired wide with two powerful shots, one of which went into the side netting, while Danjuma mis-hit when one on one with Manuel Neuer, although replays showed he may have been offside from Etienne Capoue’s through-ball.

Bayern finally showed signs of life after the break and their increased intensity brought a goal when Villarreal lost possession near the halfway line, allowing Thomas Muller to feed Lewandowski, whose early shot from the edge of the box bounced in off the post.

The Allianz Arena erupted in celebration and it seemed only a matter of time until Bayern edged in front in the tie.

Muller was guilty of spurning their best chances, firing high and wide under pressure from Giovani Lo Celso on one occasion, then sending a free header past the post from a Leroy Sane cross.

But Villarreal weathered the storm and the winning goal exemplified their composure and efficiency in testing circumstances.

Raul Albiol’s defensive header fell to Dani Parejo, who kept his cool on the edge of his own box to find the onrushing Lo Celso, who in turn slid the ball through to Moreno.

The striker was onside from the Spurs loanee’s pass, and immediately squared the ball for Chukwueze, who lifted his finish over Neuer to spark delirium among the travelling supporters as Bayern’s players and fans looked on in disbelief. – Sky Sports

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