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Belenenses 0 Bayern 2

Workmanlike Reds ease into group stage

A sublime Luca Toni strike on the hour set Bayern on their way to victory over a stubborn Belenenses side as Munich progressed to the UEFA Cup group stage by a 3-0 aggregate scoreline.

With many locals put off by a hefty ticket price hike, a sparse 8,000 crowd gathered at the Do Restelo stadium on a moderately warm Lisbon evening. Moderate was the word to describe the football in the first half, with chances decidedly thin on the ground as the visitors concentrated on containing the occasionally physical Portuguese.

The match could still have gone either way after the break, but Toni’s glorious finish on the hour mark killed off the home side’s obstinate resistance, and Hamit Altintop added a second thirteen minutes from time to wrap up a patient and professional job of work.

Armband for Lucio

With Lukas Podolski joining weekend injury casualties Oliver Kahn and Miroslav Klose on the sidelines, Bayern boss Ottmar Hitzfeld pushed Franck Ribéry forward to support Luca Toni up front, with Bastian Schweinsteiger restored to the starting line-up in midfield. In the absence of Kahn and long-term injury victim Willy Sagnol, Brazil skipper Lucio also wore the captain’s armband for his club.

Belenenses coach Jorge Jesus made one change from the first leg in Bavaria, replacing Evandro Paulista with fellow Brazilian Weldon. The on-loan striker was quick to make an impact after Polish match official Jacek Granat whistled play underway, showing the Bayern defence a clean pair of heels and drawing a good save from Kahn stand-in Michael Rensing.

Tense first half

The young keeper held Ruben Amorim’s curling free-kick and plucked a dangerous Evandro Roncatto cross out of the air as the home side continued their lively opening, but seasoned campaigners Ze Roberto and Mark van Bommel soon stepped in to calm the situation and the match entered a cautious phase with chances restricted to the odd long-range effort at either end.

Toni put in an immense amount of spadework but frequently fell victim to the Portuguese outfit’s disciplined offside trap, and 44 minutes had elapsed before Munich’s only real chance of the half, a Marcell Jansen poke at goal saved with his legs by home keeper Costinha.

Skilful Luca

The game picked up pace after the restart, Schweinsteiger haring clear on 52 minutes only for Toni to deflect the Germany man’s cross wide of the upright, before the Lisbon side responded with shots from early sub Amaral and José Pedro.

But the moment everyone connected with Bayern had been hoping and waiting for arrived precisely on the hour when Ribery picked out Toni, lurking level with the Belenenses back line some eight yards from goal. The Italian’s control was world class and his finish clinical, prompting delight and relief in equal measure on the away bench.

Comfortable conclusion

The home side visibly sagged at the prospect of finding three goals to salvage the tie, and Hitzfeld sent on Jan Schlaudraff and Andreas Ottl for Ribery and Ze Roberto as the Reds set about shoring up the aggregate victory. Toni was not content to settle for that, however, and produced a fine cut-back for Altintop to double the advantage with quarter of an hour remaining.

Seventeen-year-old Toni Kroos made his European debut for the last ten minutes as the Reds coasted to the finish, and although Belenenses subs Joao Paulo and Mendonca fired off shots at Rensing’s goal, Bayern duly wrapped up a 3-0 aggregate victory with the minimum of fuss.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley