Bayern Munich struck in the last minute to defeat holders Inter Milan 1-0 at the San Siro while Olympique Marseille and Manchester United drew 0-0 in the first legs of their round of 16 ties on Wednesday.
Bayern, beaten 2-0 by Inter coached by Jose Mourinho in last season’s final, scored at the end of normal time when Inter keeper Julio Cesar failed to hold a long-range shot from Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez pounced on the rebound.
Robben earlier exchanged passes with Gomez before firing against the post midway through the second half and Bayern now have a great chance of avenging last season’s final defeat by eliminating Inter in the second leg on March 15.
“Inter surprised me,” Bayern coach Louis van Gaal told reporters.
“They played to win and that is very beautiful. The whole world has seen a wonderful game and I think both sets of fans could be happy with this game.
“That is what football is about and having enjoyment in football. In the final last year, they attacked less than they did today and got a better result. But that’s football.”
Manchester United and Marseille cancelled each other out in a largely uninspiring match at the Stade Velodrome where Marseille’s passionate fans were left frustrated by their team’s failure to break down United’s defence.
“It was a disappointing game,” United manager Alex Ferguson said.
“They made sure they weren’t going to concede a goal. 0-0 can be a dangerous score but we will be better at home” added Ferguson who will be confident of advancing to the last eight at Old Trafford in three weeks’ time.
“It is not a bad result for us, in the first game it is very important not to concede a goal,” Marseille coach Didier Deschamps said.
“It was a hard game against a big team and my players have done their best.”
Darren Fletcher went closest for United while Brandao’s weak header was all the home side had to show for their increased effort in the second half.