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Wasted chances prove costly for Lyon vs. Bayern

by The Associated Press | August 20, 2020 at 2:23 a.m.
Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski (right) gets a shot past Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes on Wednesday during a 3-0 victory at Jose Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal. Bayern Munich advanced to face Paris Saint-Germain in Sunday’s final. (AP/Miguel A. Lopes)

LISBON, Portugal -- The Champions League final will finally be a meeting of champions again.

Bayern Munich made sure the title match will live up to the competition's name by beating Lyon 3-0 on Wednesday, setting up a final against Paris Saint-Germain.

It's the first time in 22 years that the final will feature two teams who qualified as domestic league champions.

Lyon wasted a couple of early chances and was then overwhelmed by the clinical Bavarian powerhouse, the competition's highest-scoring team that was coming off an 8-2 victory over Barcelona in the quarterfinals.

Serge Gnabry netted twice before Robert Lewandowski added a later header, giving that duo a combined 24 Champions League goals this season, part of Bayern's total haul of 42.

PSG as a team only has 25 goals in the competition this season.

"We will look to organize our defense, but we know our biggest strength is putting our opponents under pressure," Bayern Coach Hansi Flick said.

In 35 games since Flick was promoted to manager in November after Niko Kovac's firing, he won 32 of them to steer Bayern from fourth place in the Bundesliga, to German Cup glory and into a first continental final since lifting the European Cup in 2013.

Sunday's game at Benfica's stadium will be the first time since Real Madrid faced Juventus in 1998 that two domestic champions met in the final.

"For now, we celebrate a little bit," Bayern midfielder Alphonso Davies said. "But afterwards, we focus on the next game. It's going to be a good game, there's going to be goals in it."

The loss for Lyon, in its first Champions League semifinal in a decade, cuts out the last route back into European competitions next season.

After finishing seventh in the curtailed Ligue 1 season and being beaten in the French League Cup final by PSG, Lyon will be out of Europe for the first time since the 1996-97 season.

Back on the field where it knocked out Manchester City on Saturday, Lyon was made to pay for squandering its opportunities to take the lead after finding more space in the Bayern defense than Barcelona.

Memphis Depay hit the side netting in the fifth minute with only goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to beat from a tight angle and Karl Toko Ekambi hit the right post.

"I don't think we can have any regrets ... because we had two big chances," Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes said. "We could have been 2-0 up. In these top-level matches you pay for not taking your chances though."

Just a minute after the post denied Lyon the opener, Gnabry brushed aside several challenges as he cut in from the right and powered in a shot into the top corner in the 18th minute.

"The first couple of minutes we struggled a little bit," he said. "My goal came at the right time to give us a bit of confidence."

His threat was evident across the pitch at the Sporting stadium in Lisbon, driving forward with the ball for the move that led to the second goal. After releasing Ivan Periši on the left wing, the ball was squared into the penalty area. Lewandowski's sliding connection was blocked by Lopes but Gnabry was on hand to knock in the second in the 33rd.

It extended Gnabry's hot scoring streak to nine goals across nine games in this season's pandemic-disrupted Champions League.

But Lyon was not out of sight.

Just before the hour mark, Moussa Dembele fed Houssem Aouar who passed to Ekambi, but the forward shot right at Neuer's legs.

So many chance to score and none taken for the team that also ousted Juventus to qualify for unique last-eight tournament, which is being played without fans in the Portuguese capital, with single games replacing the usual home and away fixtures.

Lewandowski never has much trouble scoring, although it took until the 88th minute this time when he rose to meet Joshua Kimmich's free kick with a header.

Lewandowski has now scored in nine consecutive Champions League games, and has 55 goals overall for the season.

And it wrapped up a 20th successive victory in all competitions for Bayern.

Bayern's Serge Gnabry, right, celebrates his side's second goal with teammates Robert Lewandowski, center, and Thomas Mueller during the Champions League semifinal soccer match between Lyon and Bayern Munich at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Miguel A. Lopes/Pool via AP)
Bayern's Serge Gnabry, right, celebrates his side's second goal with teammates Robert Lewandowski, center, and Thomas Mueller during the Champions League semifinal soccer match between Lyon and Bayern Munich at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Miguel A. Lopes/Pool via AP)
Lyon's Marcal, centre, duels for the ball with Bayern's Robert Lewandowski during the Champions League semifinal soccer match between Lyon and Bayern at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Franck Fife/Pool via AP)
Lyon's Marcal, centre, duels for the ball with Bayern's Robert Lewandowski during the Champions League semifinal soccer match between Lyon and Bayern at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Franck Fife/Pool via AP)
Bayern's Serge Gnabry tries to control the ball during the Champions League semifinal soccer match between Lyon and Bayern Munich at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Miguel A. Lopes/Pool via AP)
Bayern's Serge Gnabry tries to control the ball during the Champions League semifinal soccer match between Lyon and Bayern Munich at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Miguel A. Lopes/Pool via AP)
Bayern's Serge Gnabry celebrates after scoring the opening goal of his team during the Champions League semifinal soccer match between Lyon and Bayern Munich at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Miguel A. Lopes/Pool via AP)
Bayern's Serge Gnabry celebrates after scoring the opening goal of his team during the Champions League semifinal soccer match between Lyon and Bayern Munich at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Miguel A. Lopes/Pool via AP)
Lyon's Lucas Tousart, right, and Lyon's goalkeeper Anthony Lopes try to stop Bayern's Robert Lewandowski during the Champions League semifinal soccer match between Lyon and Bayern Munich at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Miguel A. Lopes/Pool via AP)
Lyon's Lucas Tousart, right, and Lyon's goalkeeper Anthony Lopes try to stop Bayern's Robert Lewandowski during the Champions League semifinal soccer match between Lyon and Bayern Munich at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Miguel A. Lopes/Pool via AP)
Lyon's Lucas Tousart, left, and Bayern's Robert Lewandowski go for the ball during the Champions League semifinal soccer match between Lyon and Bayern Munich at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Miguel A. Lopes/Pool via AP)
Lyon's Lucas Tousart, left, and Bayern's Robert Lewandowski go for the ball during the Champions League semifinal soccer match between Lyon and Bayern Munich at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Miguel A. Lopes/Pool via AP)
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At a glance

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

NOTE All matches in Lisbon, Portugal

SEMIFINALS

TUESDAY’S MATCH

Paris Saint-Germain 3, Leipzig 0

WEDNESDAY’S MATCH

Bayern Munich 3, Lyon 0

FINAL

SUNDAY’S MATCH

All times Central

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bayern Munich, 2 p.m. (CBSSN)

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