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Bayern wins at Juventus, reaches Champions League semis

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Associated Press
4/10/2013 5:12:41 PM
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TURIN, Italy -- Bayern Munich continued its march toward a second consecutive Champions League final with a 2-0 win at Juventus on Wednesday, securing a 4-0 win on aggregate and a place in the semifinals.

Mario Mandzukic all but killed off the tie in the 64th minute, heading in a rebound to leave Juventus needing to score four goals in 26 minutes.

Claudio Pizarro added Bayern's second in stoppage time, while Arjen Robben hit the post for the German champions.

The only sour note for Bayern was a booking for Mandzukic after a clash with Giorgio Chiellini. The striker will miss the team's next match.

Bayern is bidding for a treble after winning the Bundesliga with a record six games to spare on Saturday. It has also reached the semifinals of the German Cup.

Juventus knew it faced an uphill struggle to qualify for the semifinals for the first time in 10 years. The Italian side was dominated for most of last week's first leg, and was lucky to leave Munich only 2-0 down.

To make matters worse, Juventus had team selection problems. Midfielder Arturo Vidal and defender Stephan Lichtsteiner, who both started in Munich, were suspended, while striker Sebastian Giovinco was out through injury.

"There's definitely a lot of work to do, and a lot of time, to improve in Europe. But we knew that already," Juventus manager Antonio Conte said. "We did all we could."

Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli was on the same wavelength.

"We played well. We tried. But they're a great squad and they showed that they're better than us," Barzagli said. "Maybe we need to improve some more to compete at this level. For a lot of us this was the first experience in the Champions League."

Needing an early goal, Juventus almost got off to the perfect start. Mirko Vucinic, who scored a brace at the weekend, did well to force his way into the area but his shot lacked any real power and was directed straight at Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Vucinic had another good opportunity shortly afterwards as he controlled a cross from Paul Pogba, but had the ball taken off him by Mandzukic just as he was about to strike.

Juventus' best chance of the first half came in the 23rd minute after Claudio Marchisio was fouled by Philipp Lahm and the referee awarded the Italian side a free kick in a dangerous, central position 20 yards (meters) out.

Free kick specialist Andrea Pirlo stepped up but Neuer did well to keep out his powerful drive which flew straight through the Bayern wall.

Juventus should have done better shortly afterwards when, following good work by Simone Padoin, Pogba put in a tantalizing cross which rolled across right in front of the goal but no home player was on hand to poke it in.

By contrast, Bayern seemed content to sit back, soak up the pressure and hit Juventus on the counter in search of an all-important away goal.

Mandzukic went close early on but, under pressure from Andrea Barzagli, he scuffed a cross from Ribery wide of the right upright from close range.

Robben also twice fired well over the bar from the edge of the area, while Thomas Mueller drove a 20-yard (meter) effort wide of the right upright.

The visitors' best chance came six minutes from halftime when a corner was headed out to the onrushing David Alaba, whose powerful shot was turned round the post by Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

Pirlo was gifted another opportunity to score with one of his trademark free kicks immediately after the break when Vucinic was blocked by Dante on the edge of the area.

However, his deflected effort was comfortably gathered by Neuer.

Fabio Quagliarella went closer with a powerful drive which flashed wide of the left upright.

Robben should have put the contest beyond doubt shortly before the hour mark after Mandzukic chested the ball down, but the Netherlands forward's curling effort crashed off the left post.

That was a warning from Bayern and it took the lead seven minutes later. A free kick was floated into the box and Buffon did brilliantly to keep out Javi Martinez's effort from point-blank range -- only for Mandzukic to head the rebound into an empty net.

Juventus desperately surged forward but it struggled to carve out any real opportunities.

Bayern looked more likely to score and did so in stoppage time when Bastian Schweinsteiger found Pizarro, who had come off the bench seven minutes earlier, and the Germany midfielder slotted through Buffon's legs.

"We dont have regrets," Buffon said. "We played at our maximum but unfortunately it wasn't enough because we came up against a squad that showed -- technically, mentally and experience-wise -- that they were better than us. ... They have everything in place to win the title."

Mandzukic scores (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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