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Own goals the diffference for Bayern
Bayern Munich were thankful for a pair of own goals as they maintained their perfect start in Champions League Group E with victory over Cluj at the Allianz Arena.

The result gave last season's beaten finalists a firm grip over their section, however, they won with some fortune after falling behind to Cluj skipper Ricardo Cadu's header after 27 minutes.

Cadu's night turned sour soon after when he unluckily put the ball into his own net before Cristian Panin did the same six minutes later.

It proved the decisive period on a night when Cluj otherwise matched their hosts and Mario Gomez added a third for Bayern to render Juan Emmanuel Culio's late strike a consolation effort.

Bayern's win moved them up to nine points and, after Basel beat Roma 3-1 in the other game in the group, gave them a six-point cushion over their rivals at the half-way stage.

Bayern spurned two set-piece opportunities before they were undone by the pin-point delivery of Cluj's much-travelled Italian midfielder Roberto De Zerbi.

The 31-year-old should have already been the architect of his team's first goal, when Felice Piccolo ballooned his fizzing free-kick over from six yards, before the opener did come with 27 minutes played.

De Zerbi was felled by Anatoliy Tymoschuk 30 yards from goal and the Italian's resultant free-kick exposed the Bayern midfielder for a second time, as he failed to track Cadu's run to the back post where he powerfully headed his side ahead.

The lead lasted only four minutes as Cadu unluckily diverted the ball into his own net after Kroos' centre struck him to leave Stancioiu wrong-footed.

Cluj were then behind six minutes later when they conceded a second own goal, although this time the mistake was preventable.

Andreas Ottl swung a corner to the top of the six-yard box and Panin, who might have expected his goalkeeper to come and gather, saw the ball deflect off his midriff and into his goal.

It was a disheartening blow for the Romanians, but they almost drew level in injury time when Lacina Traore ran onto a through-ball and with just Hans-Jorg Butt to beat, fired against the post.

Following that scare, Bayern pushed for a third goal after half-time with Thomas Muller and Kroos both shooting over from distance before Holger Badstuber's free-kick was parried to safety by Stancioiu.

Gomez, who scored a hat-trick in the weekend win over Hannover, eventually gave his side a two-goal cushion they would require when he scored from close range with 76 minutes played.

Culio gave his team brief hope when he scored from 12 yards with five minutes remaining, but Bayern held out for a third win in as many games.

# Van Gaal: Bayern lucky

Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal admitted his team were fortunate to beat Cluj as two own goals helped move the Bavarians to within touching distance of a place in the knockout stage of the Champions League.

"We were fortunate today,'' he said. "But then it is always difficult against opponents who stick ten men behind the ball. We did not concede many chances, but we did not create many either. Therefore, it was lucky that the opponents scored two own goals.''

Gomez added the winner to carry on from where he left off with a hat-trick on Saturday, and the Germany striker can feel the confidence returning to his and his team's game.

"I am glad that I am playing and that I am scoring goals,'' he said on his club's website. "That makes me very happy at the moment. Things change quickly in football and I will do all I can to make sure things carry on like this. We have started to regain the self-confidence to win games. Luck is back on our side.''

With Basle beating Roma 3-1 in the other game in the pool, Cluj are still in with a chance of reaching the knockout phase, although a draw in Munich would have put them into a more challenging position.

"I think a draw was there for us,'' said their coach Sorin Cartu. "It is very frustrating what happened here, but fortune is always on the side of the big club. There are now three clubs in the group with three points and so we can still finish second.''
 
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