Arsenal, Bayern alive in Champions League
Arsenal dismantled FC Porto 5-0 on Tuesday to reach the Champions League quarter-finals along with Bayern Munich.
Nicklas Bendnter scored the first hat trick of his career to help Arsenal overcome a first-leg deficit in the Champions League for only the second time, while Bayern advanced past Fiorentina on away goals, despite a 3-2 loss in Italy that made it 4-4 on aggregate.
Arsenal and four-time European champion Bayern are the first sides through to the March 19 quarter-final draw in Nyon, Switzerland. Manchester United, AC Milan, Real Madrid and Lyon will try to join them on Wednesday and the other four spots will be decided next week.
Arsenal trailed 2-1 from the first-leg match in Portugal but drew level on aggregate when Bendnter scored in the 10th minute. The Premier League side never looked like falling behind again.
Samir Nasri and Andrey Arshavin ran an attacking display that more than compensated for a defence shaky without the injured William Gallas, while Bendtner improved on a display that included several missed chances in Saturday's 3-1 Premier League win over Burnley.
Nasri's pass through the middle cut open the visiting defence and, although Arshavin's attempt to get to the ball was blocked by defender Jorge Fucile and goalkeeper Helton, it fell to Bendtner just inside the area for the Denmark striker to sweep it in for the opener.
Fucile then tried to save a corner deep in Porto's half and instead gave the ball away. Arshavin dodged Fucile's sliding attempt to retrieve the ball and weaved between another two defenders before slipping the ball across the six-yard box for Bendnter to tap in completely unmarked for 2-0 after 25 minutes.
Nasri made it 3-0 in the 63rd with a solo effort — beating three defenders, two of them twice, to twist into the area and score with a swerving shot across Helton and in at the far post — before substitute Eboue rounded off a swift counterattack three minutes later.
Arsenal won possession in its own area and Arshavin carried the ball into the opposition half, where he slipped it to the charging Eboue.
Eboue took one touch to take it around the goalkeeper and another to bury it. That matched the score between the sides in last season's group stage, but Bendnter completed his hat trick with an injury-time penalty.
The Gunners advanced 6-2 on aggregate and could be joined by Premier League rival United if last season's runner-up manages to protect its 3-2 lead against visiting Milan on Wednesday. Lyon leads record nine-time European champion Madrid 1-0 ahead of the teams' second-leg meeting in Spain.
Bayern was on the verge of elimination after Juan Vargas and Stevan Jovetic had put Fiorentina 3-1 ahead but Arjen Robben scored a decisive goal for the German side in the 65th at the Artemio Franchi stadium.
The Netherlands winger struck a precise shot from 25 yards to deflate a home crowd still cheering Jovetic's second goal just a minute earlier.
Vargas had put Fiorentina in front in the 28th and Jovetic made it 2-0 before Mark van Bommel scored Bayern's first goal in the 60th with a long shot from Franck Ribery's cross.