Bastian Schweinsteiger's first-half goal proved enough to give FC Bayern München victory at Sporting Clube de Portugal and cement their place atop UEFA Champions League Group B - despite the German international's sending-off a minute into the second half.
Bayern hold out
Schweinsteiger's powerful winner came in an early spell of Bayern dominance, but even before being reduced to ten men the visitors found themselves under increasing pressure. Anderson Polga hit the post as the Lisbon team went in search of an equaliser which never arrived, meaning Sporting remain second but are five points adrift of a Bayern side boasting a perfect record.
Sporting coach Paulo Bento handed Carlos Martins his first start since August, the midfielder having only made a comeback from injury as a substitute in the weekend Liga defeat of CF Estrela da Amadora. He almost had an immediate impact, his through-ball just eluding Alecsandro. Schweinsteiger then tested Ricardo from distance following fine work by Roque Santa Cruz, favoured above Roy Makaay in a three-man attack with Lukas Podolski and Claudio Pizarro.
Ricardo also parried a strong Mark van Bommel strike as Bayern began to trouble the Sporting back line. Willy Sagnol's cross from the right was nodded wide by Santa Cruz before Schweinsteiger made the breakthrough in the 19th minute with a long-range, swerving effort from more than 25 metres which avoided Ricardo's dive. It was almost two soon after, as Sagnol's probing free-kick found Santa Cruz whose attempt was turned into the side-netting.
Sporting looked shaken but Martins gave them hope with a jinking run before skewing a shot centimetres wide. Suddenly the hosts piled on the pressure, forcing bookings for Schweinsteiger and Andreas Ottl, ruling the latter out of the return in a fortnight. In another quick move Alecsandro sent through Liedson, whose angled drive forced Oliver Kahn to save down to his left. The goalkeeper then stopped an Alecsandro header as Sporting won a succession of corners, although they were unable to carve out another clear-cut opening before the interval.
Sporting's chances were boosted within 90 seconds of the restart as Schweinsteiger's sliding foul on the freshly-introduced Yannick Djaló earned him a second yellow card. Bayern reshuffled, with Hasan Salihamidžić replacing Santa Cruz as Sporting pushed on and Rodrigo Tello's scorching free-kick made Kahn work.
On-loan Uruguayan striker Carlos Bueno was handed his European debut but it was defender Anderson Polga who came closest for Sporting, rifling an effort against the post. Just after the hour Liedson cut the ball back for Yannick, but Kahn was equal to the shot and the veteran keeper again denied the forward as Bento threw caution to the wind. Having just been cautioned, Miguel Veloso was substituted for Carlos Paredes, but although Tello's subsequent strike from distance did not miss by much, luck was not on Sporting's side.
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