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Toni drags Bayern Munich one step closer to UEFA Cup final



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Luca Toni saved Bayern Munich’s blushes against courageous 10-man Getafe here Thursday with a late extra time double to put the German giants into the UEFA Cup semi-finals on away goals.

The high achieving Spaniards, who were down a man after just six minutes, produced another heroic performance after eking out a crucial 1-1 draw in the first leg of this quarter-final in Munich last week.

But despite going 3-1 up on the night in the opening minutes of extra time Italian World Cup winner Toni’s double left the aggregate score at 4-4 with the Germans going through on away goals.

They now face Zenit St Petersburg in the last four.

Cosmin Contra’s late away goal for Getafe in Germany last week gave the Spaniards from the Madrid suburbs hope of adding Bayern to a list of victims this season that includes Anderlecht, AEK Athens and Tottenham.

But their prospects looked bleak when the aptly named Ruben de la Red was sent off by Swiss referee Massimo Busacca for a challenge on Miroslav Klose in the opening minutes.

The numerical disadvantage didn’t stop the European debutants from going 1-0 up on the night and 2-1 up on aggregate one minute from the break.

And Contra was once again the man to defy Bayern’s veteran keeper, Oliver Kahn.

The Romanian stormed down the right flank to cut inside and into the penalty area with his swerving shot beating Kahn and giving the visitors a category three mountain to climb.

But not for the first time since his move from Marseille France international Franck Ribery came to Bayern’s rescue, albeit not until the 89th minute.

Toni flicked the ball into the path of Getafe defender David Cortes who in turn knocked it inadvertently on to Ribery to drill the ball past Pato.

That left the tie all square at 2-2 and level on away goals, forcing extra time.

Getafe hit Bayern stunned Bayern when play resumed with midfielder Casquero and striker Braulio scoring in the 91st and 93rd minutes.

Toni though was to have the last word, or two as it turned out, as he first pounced on a mistake by Pato and then headed Jose Ernesto Sosa’s cross past the Getafe keeper.