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24th of October 2018

Javi nets opener in CL win over AEK (0-2)

Javi nets opener in CL win over AEK (0-2)

Greek champions AEK Athens held up FC Bayern for 60 minutes on Tuesday evening, but the Bavarians twice struck to deadly effect around the hour mark. Javi Martínez broke the deadlock before Robert Lewandowski doubled the lead to seal Bayern's second victory in their third Champions League match.

The German record champions started with Manuel Neuer in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Mats Hummels and Rafinha in a back four. Martínez filled the holding role behind Arjen Robben, Thiago, James and Serge Gnabry, with Lewandowski as sole striker. Leon Goretzka took over from James after the hour mark, Thomas Müller and Sandro Wagner coming on for Gnabry and Lewandowski later in the second half.

No reward

The 61,221 crowd at Athens' Olympic Stadium saw Bayern go straight onto the front foot but struggle to create presentable chances at first. Gnabry frequently found himself confronted by space rather than opponents on the left wing but saw a cross evade Robben and an effort go wide. Bayern's summer arrival was soon involved in two more moves, but a pass for Lewandowski was blocked before AEK almost put through their own goal following a Gnabry cross.

AEK had their first chance on the break after 20 minutes. Ezequiel Ponce fired wide from 18 yards, but it provided momentum for the hosts. Bayern had almost camped out in their opponents' half, but the Greeks pressed higher now. Bayern still dominated proceedings but lacked the final ball. Thiago intercepted a pass and raced clear, but his pass evaded the lurking Lewandowski. Hummels miscued a header before Gnabry hit the side-netting from ten yards, and the contest remained goalless at half-time.

Javi breaks the deadlock

The hosts upped the ante after the break, but Anastasios Bakasetas and Viktor Klonaridis miscued their efforts. Just as AEK enjoyed a spell in command with Bayern looking increasingly reeling, Javi Martínez opened the scoring. Robben saw his effort blocked, but the Spaniard shone with a fine sideways scissor-kick to blast home. Barely two minutes later a Rafinha cross found the unmarked Lewandowski, who tapped in from point-blank range.

With the hosts' battling undone once and for all, the Bavarians engaged cruise control. A Kimmich cross found Lewandowski in the box, but the striker saw his effort saved by netminder Vasilios Barkas. Thiago miscued an effort before Goretzka saw a shot blocked, and match official Alexey Kulbakov blew for full-time.

The result means Bayern have seven points from three matches, topping the table in Group E ahead of Ajax' clash with Benfica. The Bavarians will be back in action on Saturday, when they travel to face Mainz in the Bundesliga before taking on SV Rödinghausen in the DFB Cup next Tuesday.

- Match stats:

AEK Athens: Barkas - Bakakis, Lampropoulos, Chygrynskiy, Hult - Simoes, Galanopoulos (Galo 84) - Bakasetas, Klonaridis (Boyé 64), Mantalos (Alef 76) - Ponce

FC Bayern: Neuer – Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Rafinha – Martínez – Robben, Thiago, James (Goretzka 62), Gnabry (Müller 75) - Lewandowski (Wagner 84)

Referee: Alexey Kulbakov (Belarus)

Attendance: 61,221

Goals: 0-1 Martínez (61), 0-2 Lewandowski (63)

Yellow cards: - / -

- Match report by

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