Created on 25-02-2009 at 00:00 AM
Bayern relearned the art of taking chances to devastating effect in Lisbon on Wednesday night, inflicting a crushing defeat on an out-fought and out-thought Sporting side, and virtually guaranteeing a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
A 35,163 crowd at the Estádio José Alvalade saw the Bundesliga side enjoy an early let-off when Philipp Lahm cleared Anderson Polga's shot off the line, but the visitors shaded a cagey first half courtesy of Franck Ribery’s trademark solo effort four minutes before the break.
The Lisbon outfit came out for the second half spoiling for a fight, but goals from Miro Klose and a Ribery penalty in a six-minute spell around the hour mark effectively killed off the contest and sent the Bavarians into the comfort zone.
The German champions engaged cruise control as Sporting heads went down towards the end, Luca Toni turning a comfortable win into a rout with a late brace to round off his club's biggest-ever win in Europe's elite club competition. With the second leg in Munich two weeks from now little more than a formality, Bayern will focus on regaining lost ground in the Bundesliga with renewed energy and belief.