Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Barca crash out of Champions League



Barca crash out of Champions League

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Barcelona defender Oscar Mingueza (right) and Bayern Munich forward Kingsley Coman vie for the ball during the UEFA Champions League group E football match on Wednesday. AFP

Barca crash out of Champions League

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez vowed to return the Spanish giants to the pinnacle of European football after they crashed out of the Champions League on Wednesday with a 3-0 defeat at Bayern Munich.

Five-time European champions Barca were eliminated in the group stages for the first time in 21 years. They had reached the last 16 in each season since 2003-04, when they did not qualify for the competition at all.

Goals by Thomas Mueller and Leroy Sane gave Bayern a 2-0 half-time cushion in falling snow at the Allianz Arena, which was devoid of spectators due to high numbers of Covid-19 cases in Bavaria.

Teenager Jamal Musiala grabbed Bayern’s third after the break to seal Barcelona’s fate.

“I’m angry. I don’t like that this is our reality now. We start a new era from here – to work hard and get back in the Champions League,” said Xavi.

Bayern, who also beat Barca 3-0 at the Camp Nou when the sides met in September, had already qualified for the knock-out stages as Group E winners.

They now join Liverpool and Ajax with a perfect six victories from six games in the group stage.

Benfica’s 2-0 win at home to Dynamo Kiev means Barcelona finish third and drop into the Europa League.

It was almost eight years to the day since Bayern lost a home Champions League game in the group phase and the Bundesliga leaders were in no mood to be generous.

Xavi, 41, who took charge of struggling Barcelona four weeks ago, has now suffered back-to-back defeats after his first loss as head coach against Real Betis last weekend.

“We start from scratch. Unfortunately, we are in the Europa League, which is not the place for us,” insisted Xavi.

Bayern were not even at full strength.

With Joshua Kimmich quarantining after a positive Covid test and Leon Goretzka injured, 18-year-old Musiala played out of position alongside Corentin Tolisso in defensive midfield.

Barcelona made a bright start but faded after losing Jordi Alba to injury with half an hour gone, just before Mueller headed Bayern into the lead.

Robert Lewandowski found space on the left of the box and flicked a pass to Mueller who claimed his 50th Champions League goal when his header looped beyond the reach of Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

It was a double blow to the Barca bench who had just learnt Benfica were 2-0 up against Dynamo in Lisbon.

Things went from bad to worse for Barca when Sane hit the net with a powerful long-range shot that deceived Ter Stegen.

Sane should have put the result beyond doubt when Bayern attacked just after the break.

Instead of tapping the ball into the empty net, he poked the ball into Ter Stegen’s grateful arms.

Alphonso Davies, who also ran Barcelona ragged in Bayern’s historic 8-2 drubbing in the 2020 quarter-finals, again caused havoc down the left flank.

The quicksilver Canadian created Bayern’s third when he pulled the ball back for Musiala to tap home from close range on 62 minutes.

With 20 minutes left and the contest effectively over, Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann started taking off first-choice players.

First to go were wingers Davies and Kingsley Coman.

Then followed star striker Lewandowski and centre-back Niklas Suele, yet still Barcelona could not threaten Manuel Neuer in the Bayern goal.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio