Bayern Munich scrapes by Sevilla in tougher first Champions League quarterfinal leg than expected

Thiago Alcantara, bottom, watches his winning header sail into the net. (The Telegraph)

The narrative the past couple weeks surrounding Sevilla was that the Spanish side was easily the weakest club left in the Champions League.

They were fortunate to advance past Manchester United, it was said. If Jose Mourinho’s side had attacked more, Sevilla would be out of the competition, it was said.

Well, let it be said that Sevilla made it difficult on one of the favorites to win the competition in the first leg of the quarterfinals.

Thiago Alcantara’s second-half header pushed Bayern Munich past Sevilla in a 2-1 win, but the result was not without some scares.

Midfielder Arturo Vidal had to be subbed off due to injury in the 36th minute, as it appeared he tweaked something early in the match and limped on until he couldn’t run anymore. Sevilla also missed some great chances, but only after going ahead in the 32nd minute thanks to a goal by Pablo Sarabia.

Sergio Escudero looped in a cross that was lazily played by Bayern’s Juan Bernat. Sarabia charged it down and finished beautifully with his left foot, despite protestations about a potential handball on Bayern’s part.

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A few minutes later, however, Bayern caught a break when Franck Ribery played a cross that deflected off Jesus Navas and caught out goalkeeper David Soria, who couldn’t scramble back to his near post in time.

Alcantara’s winning header in the 68th minute also took a deflection off a defender, but he attacked Ribery’s cross with such momentum and placed it back across goal so well it was likely going in anyway.

But there were a couple hold-your-breath chances for Sevilla late, including a hit that forced a great save from Bayern keeper Sven Ulreich.

Sevilla owns the second-best away defensive record in all of Europe, so it likely won’t be a stroll in the park for Bayern back at the Allianz Arena in the second leg (via WhoScored.com):

Still, Alcantara’s second away goal figures to prove massive and the Bavarians are certainly favorites to reach the semifinals.

But Sevilla is in this round thanks to a clutch away performance at a tough venue in Old Trafford. Who’s to say the Spanish club can’t do it again?

Joey Gulino is the editor of FC Yahoo and moonlights as a writer. Follow him on Twitter at @JGulinoYahoo.