Borussia Dortmund beat Marseille 2-1 with a late goal on Wednesday to advance to the Champions League knockout stage while Milan advanced with a 0-0 draw with Ajax at home. Despite losing 2-0 to Napoli, Arsenal also made it through to the final 16.
Borussia Dortmund beat Marseille 2-1 with a late goal from Kevin Grosskreutz on Wednesday to advance to the Champions League knockout stage while Milan advanced with only a 0-0 draw with Ajax at home. But Arsenal lost 2-0 away to Napoli, consigning them to the runners-up spot in Group F.
In a dramatic climax to one of the tightest groups in Champions League history, Borussia Dortmund needed an 87th-minute goal at Marseille to advance at the expense of Napoli.
Dortmund, last season’s beaten finalist, was on the brink of elimination and missed a series of chances against the 10-man French side until Grosskreutz scored to clinch a 2-1 win.
Instead, Dortmund won the group ahead of Arsenal, which lost 2-0 to Napoli as all three teams finished on 12 points and head-to-head tiebreakers sent the Italians out.
“What a feeling! We were almost out of the competition. This is great. We deserved it. And I didn’t even hit the ball right,” said Grosskreutz, who was born and raised in Dortmund.
Milan squeezes by
On a tense day for Italian clubs, AC Milan advanced by clinging on for a 0-0 draw at home to Ajax after captain Riccardo Montolivo was sent off in the 22nd minute.
Juventus exited in the afternoon after Wesley Sneijder scored late for Galatasaray to win 1-0 in atrocious weather and pitch conditions in Istanbul. The match resumed after being abandoned in snow and hail on Tuesday evening.
Barcelona’s progress was smooth and easy as Neymar scored three in a 6-1 rout of Celtic, ensuring the Spanish champion won Group H ahead of Milan to be seeded in the draw on Monday.
Schalke beat Basel 2-0 to finish runner-up behind Group E winner Chelsea, which beat last-placed Steaua Bucharest 1-0.
Germany will have four teams in the last-16 draw for the first time, and England also has its full quartet remaining. Italy has only Milan, confirming the recent slump of Serie A clubs in Europe’s top competition.
Zenit St. Petersburg advanced with the worst record, stuck on just six points – six fewer than Napoli – after losing 4-1 at Austria Vienna.
However, third-placed Porto failed to take advantage, having a penalty saved in its 2-0 loss at Group G winner Atletico Madrid.
Dortmund’s progress seemed under control when Polish forward Robert Lewandowski scored in the fourth minute against Marseille, which lost all its group matches.
Though Souleymane Diawara levelled with a header in the 14th, Marseille was soon reduced to 10 men when Dimitri Payet was shown a second yellow card for being adjudged to have dived in the Germans’ penalty area.
Dortmund laid siege to the home goal in the second half but Lewandowski missed an open goal, putting his shot into side netting after rounding goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.
Marco Reus, who had earlier struck the post, shot over from six metres (yards) and Lewandowski was denied a penalty claim in the 85th when bundled to the ground by Mandanda.
When Grosskreutz scored, Napoli then led Arsenal through Gonzalo Higuain’s 73rd-minute goal but needed to win by three goals. Despite Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta being sent off in the 75th, Napoli added only a second from Jose Callejon in stoppage time to complete one of the unluckiest group-stage exits since the Champions League format was created in 1992.
Milan put up a defensive barricade to fend off Ajax attacks after Montolivo was shown a straight red card for stamping on Christian Poulsen.
(FRANCE 24 with AP)
Date created : 2013-12-12