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Bayern too strong for United, Atletico stun Barca

Champions League holders Bayern Munich celebrate a 4-2 aggregate win over Manchester United

By Toby Davis

BAYERN Munich kept alive their Champions League title defence by suppressing a resilient Manchester United to reach the semi-finals on Wednesday, while the power shift continued in Spain as Atletico Madrid edged past La Liga rivals Barcelona.

United gave the Germans a scare when Patrice Evra’s thunderbolt finish put them ahead in their quarter-final second leg, but goals from Mario Mandzukic, Thomas Mueller and Arjen Robben saw them safely through with a 3-1 win on the night and a 4-2 aggregate success.

La Liga leaders Atletico confirmed their current status as the top club in Spain by ousting Barcelona after Koke’s early goal proved enough to secure a 1-0 win and 2-1 victory over the two legs.

After a cagey first half in Munich, United’s Evra stunned the home crowd with a powerful drive in the 57th minute that left Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer rooted to the spot on its way into the top corner.

The visitors’ celebrations had barely died down, however, when Bayern drew level straight from the kick-off after 22 seconds with Mandzukic evading the attentions of United’s centre backs to glance a header past David De Gea.

Mueller sidefooted in from close range to put them ahead in the tie and Robben ended a mazy run across the penalty area by finishing low into the bottom corner via a deflection off United defender Nemanja Vidic.

In Madrid, it was one-way traffic in the early stages as Atletico tore into Barcelona, scoring after five minutes when Koke side-footed into an empty net at the far post moments after Adrian Lopez had hit the post.

It could have turned into a rout as David Villa hit the woodwork twice more in the first half, but their failure to add to their lead ensured a nervous finish.

Bayern and Atletico will be joined in Friday’s semi-final draw by Chelsea, who knocked out Paris St Germain on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate draw on Tuesday and Real Madrid, who beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2 over two legs.

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