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UEFA Champions League Round of 16, first-leg: Thiago-inspired Bayern Munich annihilate Arsenal, Real Madrid too hot to handle for Napoli

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Bayern Munich crushed Arsenal 5-1 in their Champions League round of 16 first leg on Wednesday, scoring three goals in an eye-catching 10-minute spell in the second-half to put Arsene Wenger’s future into further doubt. With the win, Bayern extended their Champions League record to 16 consecutive home wins.

The Bavarians, who knocked out Arsenal at this stage of the competition in 2005, 2013 and 2014, got off to a perfect start. Arjen Robben’s superb curling shot gave Bayern the lead on 11 minutes.

The Dutchman was given far too much space, and he didn’t hesitate in advancing from the right-wing, before lashing an unstoppable left-foot shot into the top corner of David Ospina's goal.
However, Arsenal were granted an unlikely way back into the game, thanks to Robert Lewandowski’s clumsy challenge on Laurent Koscielny in an attempt to clear the ball.

Alexis Sanchez stepped up to take the responsibility, and almost spurned it, when his spot-kick was saved by Manuel Neuer, but the Chilean kept his composure on the lucky rebound to thump the ball from close-range.

The equaliser prompted Arsenal's best period of the game, where they got two clear-cut chances through Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil, but Neuer was there to rescue the hosts. It was 1-1 at the break, but Bayern stepped up the pressure in the second half.

Arsenal skipper Koscielny—their best defender—limped off from the field after the break, and that’s where Bayern rapidly stepped on the gas to fire three goals past the English club.

Robben released Philipp Lahm, who put in a perfect cross and Lewandowski headed home in the 53rd minute to make it 2-1—his 31st goal in 34 games for club and country this season. The Polish striker then turned provider for Thiago, who struck Bayern's third goal three minutes later and grabbed his second with a low drive.

Late substitute Thomas Mueller struck two minutes before time to put the tie to bed, collecting the ball from Thiago before sidefooting home. Mueller’s goal gave the German champions a huge step towards a sixth successive quarter-final appearance, while Arsenal’s last-16 hoodoo continued.

Meanwhile, on the other game of the night, Real Madrid came from a goal down to beat Napoli in the first-leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Napoli, the top scorers in Serie A, grabbed a shock goal early goal, when Lorenzo Insigne spotted Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas out of position to curl the ball home from distance.

The lead lasted 10 minutes as Real drew level when Dani Carvajal's cross was headed powerfully into the net by Karim Benzema, who earlier tested Pepe Reina from close-range.

Real wasted some clear-cut chances, with Cristiano Ronaldo blasting over after being set free by Luka Modric and Benzema clipping the outside of the post when through on goal.

But their dominance finally paid-off after the break, as Toni Kroos gave the hosts a 2-1 lead, before a stunning 25 metres volley from Casemiro sealed the win.

Napoli will host the second leg on 7 March, with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.
     

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