Lazio pile pressure on Bayern Munich and Thomas Tuchel with first-leg victory

By Sports Desk February 14, 2024

Harry Kane made little impact as Bayern Munich’s week went from bad to worse following a shock 1-0 loss in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash with Lazio.

Ciro Immobile’s second-half penalty proved the difference at Stadio Olimpico to pile pressure on Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel on the back of a damaging 3-0 defeat at title rivals Bayer Leverkusen.

England captain Kane, who is one short of reaching 50 club goals in European competition, barely touched the ball during a tight battle between two former Chelsea managers in the Italian capital.

His side dominated possession before Maurizio Sarri’s men snatched a slender aggregate advantage when Immobile sent Manuel Neuer the wrong way from 12 yards in the 69th minute after Dayot Upamecano was dismissed for a late challenge on Gustav Isaksen.

Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala went closest for the German club, who have plenty to do in the return match at Allianz Arena on March 5.

Bayern arrived in Rome having fallen five points off the pace in the Bundesliga following Saturday’s emphatic loss at Leverkusen.

Under-fire boss Tuchel made three personnel changes in a bid to bounce back, including dropping Eric Dier and recalling Germany internationals Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Muller.

Kimmich curled wide in the opening exchanges before Kane could not keep a close-range effort down following Muller’s pull back, while Luis Alberto lashed over from distance for the side sitting seventh in Serie A.

Former Manchester City forward Sane went close when his 32nd-minute effort whistled past the left post after Leon Goretzka and Muller shifted the angle of a free-kick on the edge of the D.

Musiala then fired over following impressive build-up play as the away side failed to register an attempt on target before the break.

Bayern beat Lazio 6-2 on aggregate as reigning champions at the same stage of the tournament in 2020-21 and were heavy favourites to repeat that feat.

Yet, having been relatively untested defensively, the visitors nearly conceded within three minutes of the restart.

Danish forward Isaksen was sent clear on goal after Bayern centre-back Upamecano was dispossessed by former Liverpool man Alberto, only for his low effort to be repelled by the legs of Neuer.

The six-time European champions were struggling to regain the upper hand and felt aggrieved to fall behind 21 minutes from time during a pivotal moment in the match.

French referee Francois Letexier pointed to the spot and brandished a red card after Upamecano caught Isaksen with his studs inside the box.

Bayern were unhappy with the decision but that did not stop Immobile – fresh from scoring his 200th Serie A goal in Saturday’s 3-1 win at Cagliari – calmly rolling home into the bottom right corner.

Former Tottenham striker Kane saw a long-rang free-kick deflected over as below-par Bayern sought a leveller.

Yet the surprise result could have been worse.

Felipe Anderson and substitute Pedro each went close to doubling Lazio’s lead late on, with Tuchel given plenty to ponder.

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