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Gunners win but bow out
Arsenal battled to a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena, but still bowed out of the Champions League on away goals.
Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, manager Arsene Wenger accepted it would be a Mission:Impossible for his beleaguered side in Bavaria and so it proved despite a heroic performance to beat the runaway Bundesliga leaders.
Oliver Giroud fired in after just three minutes and Bayern were kept at bay by some fine saves from stand-in goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, preferred to fellow Pole Wojciech Szczesny. Defender Laurent Koscielny headed in to level the tie on aggregate with four minutes left, but there was to be no fairytale ending.
The Barclays Premier League side produced the perfect start as they swept into the lead on three minutes. A slip from defender David Alaba allowed Tomas Rosicky to feed Theo Walcott on the right, and his low cross through the six-yard box was smashed into the roof of the net by Giroud.
Bayern are not used to trailing, having conceded just 10 goals in total in the Bundesliga so far, and were soon back on the offensive as Toni Kroos tested Fabianski with a 25-yard drive. Luiz Gustavo, in for the suspended Bastian Schweinsteiger then fired over after the ball was only half-cleared from a corner.
Arsenal, though, weathered the storm and maintained their own threat on the counter, with Walcott the main outlet down the right and Rosicky seeing more of the ball in a central role. Walcott whipped over another decent cross through the German's penalty area, but this time Giroud was unable to connect as he raced in at the back post.
Arsenal needed to score another two goals to stand any chance of pulling off the unlikeliest of comebacks, but it was Bayern who opened up the second half strongly as Arjen Robben and Kroos both fired just wide. Thomas Muller drilled a low shot under Fabianski and through the six-yard box as the Germans pressed again.
Bayern continues to press as Gustavo curled the ball just wide from the edge of a busy Arsenal penalty area. Fabianski then stood up well to block after Robben had darted clear of the Arsenal defence.
Wenger made a double change as Walcott and Aaron Ramsey were replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho. The Ivory Coast forward almost produced a moment of magic when playing a one-two with Santi Cazorla on the right side of the penalty area, turning his marker to stab the ball across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.
Fabianski produced another good stop from Muller as Bayern again went in search of an equaliser. However, it was Arsenal who set up a grandstand finish as Koscielny headed in from a corner, with a melee following in the goalmouth as goalkeeper Manuel Neuer laid on the ball. Yet another clear-cut chance never came and the Germans progressed.