BAYERN MUNICH 2
Robben (pen) 45, Klose 89
Referee Tom Ovrebo will steal the headlines after a series of appalling decisions denied Fiorentina the advantage in their second round tie with Bayern Munich.
Despite a woeful run of form in Serie A, gaining just one point from their last five league games, Fiorentina were the better side in the opening exchanges. Bayern, enjoying a 12-game unbeaten run struggled early on. Defensively they looked uncharacteristically error prone culminating in a mix-up between Daniel van Buyten and Hans-Jorg Butt almost allowing Alberto Gilardino a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
Throughout the first half la Viola put on an exhibition of composed defending and tireless closing down. Bayern’s attacking players struggled to impress themselves on the game as Fiorentina packed the midfield out preventing them from having enough time on the ball to create any real openings. Franck Ribery was kept quiet by an impressive Lorenzo De Silvestri, while Arjen Robben instigated the best of Bayern’s attacking moves from the other flank with his trademark electrifying dribbling. Riccardo Montolivo ran the midfield in one of his best performances this season, la Viola skipper ran himself ragged, playing a true box-to-box game, driving Fiorentina’s attacks and tracking back to shield the defence when required.
The deadlock was broken in bizarre fashion during first half stoppage time. Robben played Ribery in with a neat through ball, the Frenchman then fell under pressure when through on goal. Gomez put the ball past Frey with the follow up, but the referee had already blown the whistle, and after a period of confused discussion with his assistant awarded a penalty which Robben made no mistake from. The controversy surrounding the goal would eventually be eclipsed by a litany of baffling decision-making as the game wore on. With Ovrebo’s refereeing coming under the spotlight for the second time in as many seasons after grabbing the headlines last year following Chelsea’s semi-final second leg tie with Barcelona.
Shortly after the restart teenage substitute for Bayern Diego Contento got off to the worst possible start, failing to divert the ball away from an unmarked Per Kroldrup on the near post who put away the Gigliati’s equaliser from a corner after a period of extended pressure. With Fiorentina deservedly back on level terms they continued to exhibit the defensive composure and harrying midfield play that served them so well in the first half. They were dealt a huge blow on 75 as the referee made the first of two bad decisions that cost the visitors a well deserved draw – Massimo Gobbi was shown a straight red for elbowing Robben in a challenge, whilst replays suggested Gobbi displayed no malice in the challenge.
Despite going down to 10 men and under increased pressure from Bayern, Claudio Prandelli’s men appeared to have done enough to secure an unlikely but thoroughly-deserved draw. The officials robbed them right at the death however, allowing a goal from substitute Miroslav Klose who scored on 89 from a position six yards offside. The 6000 travelling fans will be left baffled as to how they can leave Munch 2-1 down and why their team, so poor in recent league outings, cannot replicate their exceptional European form in Serie A.