Paolo Guerrero described his winning goal as "comical" after the second-half substitute's miscued shot had earned FC Bayern München a 1-0 victory in a tightly contested UEFA Champions League Group A tie against SK Rapid Wien at the Ernst Happel stadium in Vienna last night.
Guerrero's decisive contribution came with an hour gone, eight minutes after he had replaced Claudio Pizarro in the Bayern attack. Rapid goalkeeper Helge Payer had brilliantly palmed away Roy Makaay’s point-blank header, but the ball fell to the feet of Guerrero at the far post.
The Peruvian snatched at his shot and missed the ball, but it deflected off his leg and slowly rolled over the line from one metre out. "It was a comical goal," Guerrero admitted. "I didn't even see the ball but I was in the right position. I think it was the most comical goal I have ever scored."
It was tough on the outstanding Payer who had pulled off a string of terrific saves to keep Rapid on level terms. His running duel with Makaay, fit again after injury, was the highlight of a match in which both sides made and spurned chances. "We played well and I did too, but the result is very hard for us," Payer told uefa.com. "I was satisfied with my performance but it doesn't mean much because of the result."
Earlier, Steffen Hofmann had hit the Bayern crossbar with a free-kick and from the rebound, Andreas Dober had sent a looping header back on to the woodwork. Rapid's best chance of the night, however, fell to Jozef Valachovič with ten minutes to play.
The Slovakian defender had scored both goals in Rapid's 2-1 aggregate defeat of FC Lokomotiv Moskva in the third qualifying round, the first a penalty in a 1-1 draw in Vienna. He stepped up to the spot again here after Muhammet Akagündüz had been brought down in the area by Lucio with ten minutes to play, but this time he sent his penalty wide to the left.
"I wanted to shoot into the right corner," he said. "I don't know why I changed my mind or what was going on in my head. This is my fault, but my team-mates picked me up right after which helped me a lot."
Mehmet Scholl came into the Bayern midfield in place of injured playmaker Michael Ballack and he admitted that Rapid, on their return to the Champions League for the first time since 1996/97, had given the German champions a stern test. "It was a hard game but we expected that," the Bayern veteran said. "They are a tough opponent. They were unlucky that they missed the penalty, but the result was fair."
Hoffmann, the Rapid captain, felt his side had been taught a lesson they would do well to heed when they travel to Juventus FC in a fortnight's time. "We played against a team with world class, but we missed lots of chances. You can't beat Bayern like that."
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