Bayern Munich vs. CSKA Moscow: Final score 3-0, Bayern start title defence with comfortable win

Martin Rose

Bayern Munich have started their Champions League title defense with a comfortable victory over CSKA Moscow.

Any fears that CSKA Moscow could cause an upset at the Allianz Arena quickly evaporated, as Bayern Munich started their European campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win. After David Alaba opened the scoring in the opening five minutes Bayern looked in total control, and were good value for their margin of victory.

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It took only four minutes for Bayern to open the scoring, when Alaba curled a long-range free-kick beyond a less-than-impressive Igor Akinfeev. The Russian goalkeeper should have done better with what looked to be a saveable set-piece, having gotten a hand to the ball but failed to keep it out.

Bayern immediately streamed forward, smelling blood. Inside five minutes Akinfeev made amends for his initial error, making a good save on a close-range effort from Mario Mandžukić. The hosts continued to pepper their opposition's goal with crosses, with Mandžukić going close with a header just short of 15 minutes in.

The Bavarians were barely challenged at all, dominating possession and with CSKA Moscow unable to string passes together under the immense pressing from the Champions League holders. Right-back Rafinha went close to doubling Bayern's advantage, though his effort from outside the area hit the side-netting.

CSKA sat deep and compact, with Bayern not having much of a look at Akinfeev's goal despite their territorial dominance. That momentarily changed when the visitors' disciplined defense was undone by a cross flicked on by Franck Ribéry, though Mandžukić hit the post with a diving header from from the ensuing chance.

Eventually the Croatian striker did score Bayern's second, netting inside the final five minutes of the half. Arjen Robben's curling free-kick was met in the area by the head of Mandžukić, who headed the ball across Akinfeev for 2-0. It was a big blow for the anonymous CSKA, rendering their difficult second half task almost completely impossible.

Robben could've killed the game almost immediately after the restart, though Akinfeev managed to keep out his powerful volley from inside the area. Bayern continued to control the game, though CSKA did look a little less apathetic after the restart, looking to press higher up the field. However, they were unable to take advantage of their rare forays into the opposition half, never really testing Manuel Neuer.

They were made to pay with just over 20 minutes remaining, when Alaba played a simple chip over the top of the CSKA defense, chested down and slotted home by Robben. The Dutchman had found himself in so much space it seemed an offside flag was imminent, though a defensive lapse rather than an infringement was responsible, and Bayern led 3-0.

Substitute Xherdan Shaqiri should have added a fourth inside the final few minutes of normal time, though he couldn't take advantage of Thomas Müller's great low cross from the right, glancing the ball wide of Akinfeev's far post. Schweinsteiger was denied by a diving stop with a low shot from the edge of the area minutes later, with CSKA firmly in damage limitation mode.

Fortunately for coach Leonid Slutsky things wouldn't get any worse, with Neuer forced into his first real stop of the evening in stoppage time. Zoran Tošic's effort stung the hands, though the German number one had no problems keeping his sheet clean.

Bayern Munich: Manuel Neuer; David Alaba, Dante, Jerome Boateng, Rafinha; Philipp Lahm; Franck Ribéry, Toni Kroos (Bastian Schweinsteiger 71'), Thomas Müller, Arjen Robben (Xherdan Shaqiri 79'); Mario Mandžukić (Claudio Pizarro 75')

Goals: Alaba (4'), Mandžukić (41'), Robben (68')

CSKA Moscow: Igor Akinfeev; Georgi Schennikov, Sergei Ignashevich, Vassili Berezutski, Kirill Nababkin; Pontus Wernbloom, Aleksandrs Cauņa; Vitinho (Zoran Tošic 46'), Keisuke Honda, Steven Zuber (Georgi Milanov 77'); Ahmed Musa (Konstantin Bazelyuk 74')

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