Bayern edge out Boavista

FC Bayern München beat Boavista FC 1-0 at the Olympiastadion thanks to a Roque Santa Cruz goal.

UEFA Champions League holders FC Bayern München cemented their grip along with Manchester United FC at the top of Group A by narrowly beating Boavista FC 1-0 at the Olympiastadion thanks to a Roque Santa Cruz goal.

Bayern second
The win left Bayern in second place in the group on eight points - the same tally as United - four points clear of Boavista, their nearest rivals. Santa Cruz cleverly guided his header home in the 81st minute after Bixente Lizarazu had crossed after reaching the by-line for the first time in the game.

Narrow front
Just over a week ago the Frenchman had popped up in the box to score and kickstart Bayern's 2-0 win at SC Freiburg and his intervention on Tuesday proved just as crucial. For much of this game Bayern had tried to undermine the Boavista defence by concentrating their attacks along a narrow front, but Lizarazu's decision to provide some width finally ended the stalemate.

Counterattacking ambition
Prior to that, Lizarazu had had his hands full trying to keep track of Martelinho, who until the hour mark constantly troubled the Bayern defence. Boavista had initially been content to stand off the Bavarians, a policy that allowed the Portuguese champions to get plenty of players behind the ball. Not that Boavista had arrived in Munich solely to frustrate Bayern. Far from it, and the ambition of their counterattacking strategy was typified by that man Martelinho.

Wasted chances
Nominally based on the right wing, Martelinho surged forward and into the centre at every opportunity, looking to link up with Silva and, after the restart, Alexandre Goulart. It was Goulart who missed Boavista's best opportunity when he hit the post after being released by Martelinho. As early as the second minute, Martelinho himself had been clear through on goal, but he pulled his shot wide with just Oliver Kahn to beat. The Boavista player then did well to get into the box and acrobatically volley over the bar with the side of his foot. Martelinho also created Boavista's best chance in the first half when his cross found Erwin Sánchez in space in the box. The Brazilian pulled the ball down, but hit his shot into the side-netting.

Pizarro panache
Bayern had been insipid in the first half. Even so, twice Ricardo had to be alert, first throwing himself at the feet of Mehmet Scholl and then denying Owen Hargreaves's long-range shot. Boavista's lack of goalscoring assuredness - the Porto club have managed just one goal in the second group stage - was to prove costly as Bayern, helped by the introduction of Claudio Pizarro, took control. The Peruvian immediately brought a fine one-handed save from Ricardo and then he hit the upright with a low shot after Giovane Elber had back-heeled the ball to him.