Bayern Munich completes Champions League group stage with CSKA rout
MUNICH (AP) — Bayern Munich cruised past CSKA Moscow with a 3-0 victory in the Champions League on Wednesday that knocked the Russian side out of European competition.
Bayern, which had already qualified for the knockout stage as group winners, took the lead when Thomas Mueller converted a penalty in the first half. Sebastian Rode and Mario Goetze added goals late in the match that left CSKA bottom of Group E.
Bayern finished with 15 points, while Manchester City joined Bayern in the knockout stage with eight points after beating Roma 2-0 away. Rome finished third and will play in the Europa League when the competition resumes after the winter break.
"I am very proud of the entire squad," Bayern coach Pep Guardiola said. "We lost only one match and we were the better team in every game. We played very seriously today."
Bayern easily dominated the match, especially in the second half, when it missed several chances to win by a bigger margin. Guardiola left several regulars on the bench at the start and Bayern did not create much despite having much of the possession.
The opening goal came after Bebras Natcho needlessly downed Franck Ribery just inside the box. Mueller took the spot kick and sent Igor Akinfeev the wrong way in the 12th minute for his club-record 24th goal in the Champions League. Moscow nearly equalized shortly afterward but goalkeeper Manuel Neuer foiled Seydou Doumbia by coming off his line.
Bayern's game picked up speed in the second half, after Arjen Robben came on and Akinfeev did well to stop the winger's effort. Sergei Ignashevich then made an incredible clearance on the line to kick away Robert Lewandowski's header after more good work from Robben. Rode doubled the lead in the 84th after connecting with a cross from Bastian Schweinsteiger at the far post.
"It is something special to score my first Champions League goal but all I had to do was knock the ball in, the cross was perfect," Rode said. "Our goal was to win the group and now we can relax and wait for Monday's draw."
Schweinsteiger is making his comeback after ankle and knee injuries and was pleased just to be playing again, completing his first full game since the World Cup in Brazil.
"When the team functions, it is easy to play well," Schweinsteiger said.
Lewandowski, also a second-half substitute, combined well with Robben to provide Goetze with the ball for the final goal in the 90th minute.