Bayern Munich blow Manchester United away after Patrice Evra's strike

By Updated at 2014-04-10 05:51:35 +0000

Among all the disappointments for Manchester United, nothing will jar so much as the knowledge that, briefly, they had this game under their control. They will be anguished about the speed at which everything unravelled, leaving them with an uncomfortable gap before they reacquaint themselves with this competition. September 2015, at the earliest.

Bayern certainly showed their competitive courage once Patrice Evra had opened the scoring with that cannonball of a shot in the 57th minute but there was still the unmistakable sense, looking back at the way the game immediately swung back in favour of Pep Guardiola's side, that United played a considerable part in their own downfall. This was not Bayern at their formidable best, or even particularly close, but David Moyes's team sagged when they needed authority.

A more accomplished side would have been buoyed by the wonder of Evra's goal and braced for the response. A team of Bayern's stature always respond and these were the moments when it needed Moyes's players to stand up to that challenge.

What happened instead was close to being a full-on capitulation. The lead was wiped out in the next attack and United lost all their defensive poise in those moments when Thomas Müller and Arjen Robben added to Mario Mandzukic's header.

Three goals had arrived in 17 minutes and the most maddening thing of all was that Bayern had been vulnerable. For long spells they showed why Arsène Wenger had observed that they were maybe not quite as brilliantly accomplished now as when Jupp Heynckes was in charge, winning this competition as part of a treble last season.

A lot of people put that down to sour grapes from the Arsenal manager after his side had been eliminated but there were times here when Bayern were close to predictable, the default setting being to feed the ball to Robben and rely on his ability to run at defenders, cutting in from the right. Robben, in fairness, is an exhilarating player and had worn down Evra before he finished the scoring with a typical run and shot in the 76th minute.

That was the moment Bayern's crowd knew the "Kings of the Cup" mosaic they had unveiled behind one of the goals, in thousands of pieces of red, purple and white, was not going to look out of place. Yet United had held them off with relative ease. Or, at least, until they actually had the temerity to take the lead.

The structure of Moyes's team was good, with two midfielders in deep-lying positions and wingers who were willing to double up as full-backs, and the players in support of Wayne Rooney were quick to join him on the occasions when they did have the ball in promising areas.

It was just a pity for United, perhaps, that Rooney was still troubled by a chipped bone in his toe. When he did have a sight of goal, he did not strike the ball convincingly and Moyes attributed that directly to his injury.

What the manager could not explain was the moment he repeatedly described as a "crime", namely the way Bayern were immediately let back into the game after conceding the opening goal.

Moyes has not previously used that word in his nine months at United and his emotive language – "I've got a team of experienced players and it's the sort of thing you learn as a schoolboy" – revealed a measure of anger that nobody could conclude was inappropriate.

Until that point Nemanja Vidic had played as though determined to remind everyone he will be badly missed next season. Chris Smalling had justified his selection ahead of Rio Ferdinand and, for the most part, Phil Jones had not allowed Franck Ribéry to play with the usual menace.

Now Ribéry had the ball, with the space to look up and pick out Mandzukic. The Croat had a clear height advantage on Evra and directed his header into David de Gea's bottom left corner. It was a soft goal to concede – but, then again so were the next two.

Evra's goal, barely a minute earlier, was an absolute peach, running on to a cross from Antonio Valencia and letting fly from 25 yards. It was an audacious, unstoppable finish, still rising as it flew into the top left?hand corner of Manuel Neuer's net and, at that stage, De Gea had been protected so well it did not feel reckless to believe the Premier League's seventh-placed side were capable of seeing it through.

Unfortunately for United, it was quickly shown to be an illusion and Evra was among the guilty. Moyes mentioned only the equaliser but the next two goals were both avoidable. Müller got away from Vidic to slip his shot past De Gea after Robben's cross from the right.

Then Robben cut inside from that side of the pitch again, eluded Evra and Vidic and took aim. A slight deflection off Vidic took the ball into the net and soothed any lingering nerves in the home crowd.

For Bayern, a third successive semi-final awaits, with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martínez available again after suspension. United can be encouraged by parts of what happened but the overall picture is bleak and, even in defeat, they will miss these occasions.