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Rediff.com  » Sports » Champions League: Dortmund into knockout stage; Leicester draw

Champions League: Dortmund into knockout stage; Leicester draw

November 03, 2016 14:06 IST

Borussia Dortmund's Julian Weigl (left) celebrates with teammates after scoring against SC Sporting Lisbon at Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon on Wednesday

IMAGE: Borussia Dortmund's Julian Weigl (left) celebrates with teammates after scoring against SC Sporting Lisbon at Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon on Wednesday. Photograph: Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Last-minute starter Adrian Ramos scored a first-half header to give Borussia Dortmund a 1-0 victory over Sporting on Wednesday and earn a spot in the knockout stage of the Champions League with two Group F matches to spare.

The 30-year-old Colombian was slipped into the starting lineup an hour before the start after top striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was surprisingly dropped, and he headed in the winner in the 12th minute.

Dortmund, without a win in their last four league matches, are top of the group on 10 points and are certain of a top-two finish and a spot in the knockout stage.

Sporting's second defeat to the Germans means the Portuguese team, on three points, must win their remaining games as second-placed Real Madrid are now on eight points after their 3-3 draw at Legia Warsaw.

"It was extremely difficult for us and at no time did we feel confident with our game," Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel said.

"Defensively we struggled and in attack we made too many mistakes.

"Sporting were more courageous than us. We will frame this result and take away just the positives. No need to talk more about tactics," a relieved Tuchel said.

Gabon international Aubameyang, who has scored three goals in three games in the competition, was a surprise omission from the squad for what Tuchel described as "internal reasons".

Leicester made to wait after goalless draw in Copenhagen

Leicester City's Wes Morgan applauds their fans with Jamie Vardy after their Champions League Group G match against FC Copenhagen at Parken Stadion, Copenhagen, Denmark, on Wednesday

IMAGE: Leicester City's Wes Morgan applauds their fans with Jamie Vardy after their Champions League Group G match against FC Copenhagen at Parken Stadion, Copenhagen, Denmark, on Wednesday. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images via Reuters

LeicesterCity missed the chance to book an early spot in the Champions League's knockout stages as they survived some nervy moments to secure a goalless draw with FC Copenhagen in Group G on Wednesday.

Having won their previous three group games, the Premier League champions stood on the brink of reaching the last 16, but Copenhagen denied them the victory they needed, while improving their own qualification hopes.

The Danish side's only previous loss in 27 competitive games was a 1-0 reverse to Leicester in their Champions League clash two weeks ago, and on several occasions they threatened to take all three points on home turf.

Their best chance came in the 70th minute when Leicester defender Christian Fuchs cleared Benjamin Verbic's effort off the line as the home side pressed forward while the visitors' keeper Kasper Schmeichel made a smart save from Andreas Cornelius in the dying minutes.

Riyad Mahrez was once again the most influential creative presence in Claudio Ranieri's side, but the Foxes had to settle for a draw on a chilly night in Copenhagen.

With the top two qualifying for the knockouts and two rounds of group matches remaining, Leicester top the standings with 10 points from four games, while Copenhagen are third on five, two behind Porto, who beat Club Bruges 1-0.

Sevilla thump Dinamo 4-0 to close in on last-16 berth

Sevilla's Steven N'Zonzi heads home to score against Dinamo Zagreb during their Champions League Group H match at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, in Seville on Wednesday

IMAGE: Sevilla's Steven N'Zonzi heads home to score against Dinamo Zagreb during their Champions League Group H match at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, in Seville on Wednesday. Photograph: Marcelo del Pozo/Reuters

Sevilla edged closer to a berth in the Champions League knockout stages after a solid performance gave the Spanish side a 4-0 home win over 10-man Croatian title holders Dinamo Zagreb in Group H on Wednesday.

The result left Sevilla top of the group on 10 points from four games, two ahead of Juventus who were held to a surprise 1-1 home draw by Olympique Lyonnais.

Lyon have four points while Dinamo, the only side yet to score a goal in the group stage of Europe's premier club competition this season, have none.

Luciano Vietto fired Sevilla ahead in the 31st minute before Sergio Escudero, Steven N'Zonzi and Wissam Ben Yedder sealed the rout after Dinamo right back Petar Stojanovic was sent off on the stroke of halftime for a second bookable foul.

Fielding a conservative 4-5-1 formation, Dinamo held their own in the opening 20 minutes before Sevilla moved up a gear and took the lead after Vietto turned away from his marker and beat goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic from a tight angle.

The home side, who won the last three titles in the second-tier Europa League, doubled their lead in the 66th minute when left back Escudero netted with a crisp, low shot after a lovely one-two with Vitolo.

French midfielder N'Zonzi made it 3-0 with a downward header in the 80th minute and substitute Ben Yedder put the icing on the cake in the closing stages after a superb run and cross by right back Mariano.

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