Soccer-Bayern crush City to put pretenders in their place

Reuters

* Ribery, Mueller and Robben score for Bayern

* Bayern top of Group D with maximum points (Writes through, adds quotes)

By Sonia Oxley

MANCHESTER, England, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich exposed hosts Manchester City's inexperience as the holders won Wednesday's Champions League Group D encounter 3-1 to teach the wealthy English side they have much to learn to achieve continental success.

Pep Guardiola's side got off to the perfect start with Franck Ribery's seventh-minute opener from a straightforward long-range shot that City keeper Joe Hart inexplicably failed to keep out and the German champions never looked back.

Thomas Mueller rounded Hart to double their lead 11 minutes into the second half, while Arjen Robben beat the floundering England keeper at his near post for the third on the hour.

City substitute Alvaro Negredo pulled one back 10 minutes from time and Bayern's Jerome Boateng was shown a red card late on, with David Silva hitting the bar from the resulting free kick, but it could not stop Bayern taking charge of Group D with what Guardiola said was their best performance of the season.

"We have six points which is a good step towards progressing to the next round," the Spaniard told a news conference.

"We dominated the game and dominated possession, we were very good at regaining the ball when we lost it and we were good at switching play."

Manchester City, who have set new manager Manuel Pellegrini a target of winning five trophies in the next five years, are in only their third year in the Champions League with the previous two seasons having ended in group-stage exits.

"We played today really bad, it's not the team we've seen here every Sunday in the Premier League," Pellegrini, whose side's defeat ended their run of 20 games unbeaten at home in European competition, told a news conference.

"We didn't have possession of the ball... it was not a good day for us."

RUFFLED HART

City had hoped to replicate the exciting performance they turned in to thrash Premier League champions Manchester United last month but instead it was Bayern who controlled possession, strung together the intricate passes and threatened the most.

Ribery's early goal set the tone after Rafinha picked out the Frenchman on the left and he was given space to shoot from 25 metres out with a low effort that Hart, diving to his right, should have kept out.

The England keeper berated himself and slapped himself in the face as the home fans were silenced, mustering the occasional sarcastic clap when the ruffled Hart did manage to hold a shot.

Bayern wasted a golden opportunity to stretch their lead after half an hour when an unmarked Mueller did not quite get to a Robben pass across the goal that would have made for an easy tap-in.

Frustration mounted for City with Jesus Navas one of the worst offenders in losing possession and their only real positive going into the break was that they had conceded just once.

That soon changed when Dante sent a tentative long ball forward and Mueller lost City defender Gael Clichy all too easily and rounded Hart to net in the 56th minute.

City, who invested heavily in attacking players in the close season, had their defensive frailties once again exposed four minutes later when Fernandinho was dispossessed near the halfway line by Mueller, allowing Bayern to break quickly.

Mueller found Robben whose jinking run made a mockery of the City defence and the Dutchman's strike at the near post again found Hart lacking.

Robben, who scored the 89th-minute winner in May's Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund, became the first Bayern player to score in five successive games in the competition. (Editing by Clare Fallon)

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