Dortmund, Leipzig Progress Into UEFA Champions League Last 16 - Eastern Mirror
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Dortmund, Leipzig progress into UEFA Champions League last 16

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By IANS Updated: Dec 14, 2023 6:52 pm
Champions League
Photo: IANS

BERLIN — Borussia Dortmund secured the top spot in their group, drawing 1-1 with Paris Saint-Germain, while RB Leipzig edged past Young Boys 2-1, claiming the second position in their UEFA Champions League group on Wednesday.

The clash between Dortmund and PSG commenced with high intensity, as both teams launched offensive maneuvers. Marco Reus challenged PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma within the first ten minutes, marking an aggressive start for Dortmund, reports Xinhua.

PSG responded with a couple of promising opportunities; however, Vitinha’s attempt was thwarted by Dortmund’s goalkeeper Gregor Kobel in the 13th minute, followed by Lee Kang-in’s off-target effort shortly thereafter.

PSG escalated their offensive in the 18th minute, leading to Niklas Sule’s crucial goal-line clearance of Kylian Mbappe’s strike, and Bradley Barcola hitting the woodwork in a close call.

Dortmund maintained pressure, keeping PSG’s defense on their toes. Reus continued to be a threat, testing Donnarumma once more, while Mats Hummels narrowly missed the goal towards the end of the first half.

Kicking off the second half with vigor, Dortmund broke the deadlock in the 51st minute. Karim Adeyemi expertly converted Niclas Fullkrug’s well-crafted assist into a goal, targeting the far post corner.

The lead, however, was short-lived. Five minutes later, Mbappe made a swift run down the left flank and set up Warren Zaire-Emery, who executed a low shot past Kobel, equalizing for PSG.

Despite a potential go-ahead goal from Mbappe in the 76th minute, it was annulled for offside, keeping the score level.

Dortmund displayed solid defense for the game’s remainder, clinching a vital point on their home turf.

“The victory is extremely important for everyone involved. For the team, for the coach and for the supporters. We are really happy that we are leading the group’s table despite the draw,” Dortmund’s sporting director Sebastian Kehl stated.

Dortmund concludes the group stage at the pinnacle of Group F, followed by PSG, AC Milan, and Newcastle.

In another match, Leipzig triumphed over Young Boys 2-1, propelled by second-half goals from Benjamin Sesko and Emil Forsberg. This victory positions Leipzig as Group G’s runner-up, behind Manchester City, and propels them into the knockout phase.

Atletico Madrid, Barca through as group winners in Champions League

Champions League
Photo: IANS

MADRID — Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona both advanced to the last-16 of the UEFA Champions League as group winners on Wednesday.

However, Atletico will feel more satisfied of the two after defeating Lazio 2-0, while Barcelona suffered a loss away to Royal Antwerp, reports Xinhua.

Antoine Griezmann initiated the scoring for Atletico after just six minutes, expertly converting a chance created by Samuel Lino, who skillfully navigated past several challenges down the left before delivering the ball for the Frenchman to score from close to the penalty spot.

Mario Hermoso found the back of the Lazio net in the 39th minute, but the goal was disallowed after the VAR identified Lino in an offside position, directly interfering with the play.

Lino compensated for the disallowed goal by netting Atletico’s second in the 51st minute with an impressive volley, following a setup by Memphis Depay.

The second goal seemingly deflated the Italian side, who required three goals to top the group. In contrast, Atletico enjoyed a comfortable final half-hour of the match.

Barcelona’s progression to the next round as group leaders was certain, but Xavi Hernandez’s search for solace following last weekend’s 4-2 defeat at home to Girona met with disappointment. A 3-2 loss to Royal Antwerp did little to alleviate concerns over a crisis in his team.

A Barcelona squad featuring young Hector Fort at right-back fell behind early to an Arthur Vermeeren goal in the second minute. Although Ferran Torres equalized for Barcelona before halftime, Vincent Janssen regained the lead for Antwerp with a left-foot shot from the center of the Barca area.

Youngster Marc Guiu seemed to have salvaged a point for Barcelona with a 91st-minute header, but just a minute later, George Ilenikhena broke through to beat Inaki Pena with a low shot, granting the Belgian team their inaugural win of the tournament.

Also read: Bayern down stubborn Galatasaray to maintain perfect record in Champions League

6091
By IANS Updated: Dec 14, 2023 6:52:34 pm
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