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Bhutia stars in swansong as Bayern Munich win 4-0

Sikkim Sniper's deft touches spice up farewell tie; Bayern Munich win 4-0 

Baichung Bhutia could not have asked for a better finale to his glorious 16-year long international career. FC Bayern Munich beat India 4-0 in yesterday's international friendly here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, but Bhutia bowed out with his held head high -- knowing he has given his all for his country since making his debut in the 1995 Nehru Cup.


Bayern Munich's star winger Arjen Robben (in red) tries to get past
India's Syed Rahim Nabi during yesterday's international friendly at the
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. Bayern
won 4-0


The 30,000-strong crowd roared each time any FC Hollywood (Bayern Munich side's nickname) superstar touched the ball. however, they saved their loudest cheers for Indian football's long serving poster boy Bhutia.
The German onslaught began as early as the 4th minute, when Bastian Schweinsteiger's shot was parried away to safety by the Indian defense. Bayern were finally rewarded for their perseverance in the 13th minute. Arjen Robben passed to Thomas Mueller from the right flank, who pulled it back for Mario Gomez to slot home.


India star Baichung Bhutia applauds the crowd. pics/AFP

India's first shot towards goal came only in the 27th minute, and no prizes for guessing the man on the ball -- Bhutia found himself clear in midfield and slammed one that sailed over Manuel Neuer's goal. In the 29th minute, Robben crossed the ball from the right for Mueller, who rose over Nirmal Chhetri to head in Bayern's second.

Mueller could have put Bayern 3-0 ahead in the 36th minute but his shot found the crossbar. A minute later he had his way though, sending the visitors 3-up after latching on to a pass from Toni Kroos and coolly slotting home after running right through India's defence.

Toni Kroos then manouvered a brilliant turn outside the box and shot straight in to Karanjit's arms. Bastian Schwienstieger then showed the young Bavarian how it's done. He scored a screamer from outside the box, curling the ball past Karanjit for 4-0.

In the second half, Franck Ribery came on for Bayern while 20-year-old striker Jeje Lalpekhlua was introduced for the hosts. Bhutia and Jeje combined well giving India a glimmer of hope. But soon Bayern regained control again much to Bhutia's frustration.  The India ace however collected himself and got on with the job. He blasted one more shot wide, after Jeje's initial strike hit teammate Jewel Raja Sheikh and landed at his feet.

Five minutes from close,  the crowd erupted as Bhutia was substituted.  "It's an honour to play Bayern. They have such great history and are one of the team's, that can win the Champions League this year. I want to thank the All India Football Federation for making this possible. I wish Savio (coach Medeira) and the national team all the best," Bhutia signed off.

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