Last season’s semi-finalists maintained their 100% record in Group E but the former Barcelona boss did not enjoy his trip to Russia
Pep Guardiola conceded there were benefits to playing in an empty stadium as his Bayern Munich side won 1-0 at CSKA Moscow – but it was not an experience he enjoyed.
Thomas Muller’s first-half penalty gave Bayern their second successive win in Champions League Group E at an empty Arena Khimki, which was closed to supporters due to Uefa-imposed sanctions after CSKA fans displayed “a range of racist and far-right symbols” in a match with Viktoria Plzen last December.
Although delighted by Bayern’s display Guardiola thought it a shame there were no fans there to witness it.
He told Sky: “Communication is a little better for a coach when there are no fans. But it is much better with fans in the stands. Football is played for the people, not for us. I hope these things that have happened won’t happen again.”
Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was more forthright, claiming: “This was football how I never want to experience it again. I have been around for 40 years and it was the first time I have taken part in something like this. When I watch our training from my office there is more atmosphere than there was here.”Although Bayern were largely on top, CSKA missed several chances to snatch an equaliser, with Roman Eremenko particularly lively for the hosts.
Muller, however, felt CSKA had been well contained after adopting a subdued approach.
“It was a weird match,” said the Germany forward. “Not only because there were no fans but also because of our opponents’ approach to the game. Let’s say it fit the atmosphere in the stadium.
“It was important for us to take the lead and we should have scored some more. Moscow has some quick forwards and you can’t control them all the time but we go home with all three points.”
The win means Bayern are in control of their group ahead of a tricky-looking trip to Roma in three weeks’ time.
“We prevented many counters tonight,” added Guardiola. “We were in great control and showed patience. We also created many chances, it’s a good result for us.”