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Borussia Dortmund qualify for Champions League knockout stages


Borussia Dortmund were the only club to qualify on Wednesday for the Champions League knockout stage and they did so without their striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Gabon international was omitted from the squad hours before kick-off, with Dortmund citing internal reasons for his suspension, though his team-mates went on and claimed a 1-0 victory as his replacement Adrian Ramos headed in against Sporting Lisbon.

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

The Sporting coach, Jorge Jesus, said: “We did everything well except score goals. Gelson Martins had a few chances to score in the first half and if you don’t take your chances you lose.”

Real Madrid could not join Dortmund as they were held to a 3-3 draw against Legia Warsaw, who became the first Polish team to claim a point off the 11-times European Cup champions. The game was played behind closed doors after crowd trouble marred their Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund in September.

Real had gone 2-0 up through Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema but Legia fought back with goals from Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe, Miroslav Radovic and Thibault Moulin. The Croatia international Mateo Kovacic rescued a point for Real, but they face qualifying in second place after Dortmund moved two points clear in Group F.

Zinédine Zidane, the Real manager, said: “We lacked a bit of everything. Above all, when you score two goals we dropped our intensity and when you do that they can score. Now we are going to forget this game.”

Bale said: “It was strange playing without spectators, but it’s no excuse. We are not happy with the result.”

Sevilla look set to join them in the knockout stages having thrashed 10-man Dinamo Zagreb 4-0, while Juventus and Lyon drew 1-1 in the other Group F match after Gonzalo Higuaín’s opener from the spot was cancelled out by Corentin Tolisso.

Juve have a four-point advantage over Lyon, who are six behind Sevilla, the leaders, with two games remaining.

The Juventus coach, Massimiliano Allegri, was angry with his team for trying to grab a late winner instead of settling for the draw. “We ran too many risks towards the end and we could have undermined our whole campaign in the Champions League,” he said. “You go to war when there’s a chance of winning; you don’t go to war when there’s a chance of losing.”

Leicester City’s winning run in the Champions League came to an end while Tottenham Hotspur endured another defeat at Wembley to hamper their hopes of qualification. Leicester would have reached the last 16 with a fourth successive victory in the competition, but a 0-0 draw in Copenhagen means they have a five-point advantage over the third-placed Danes with two games remaining.

Tottenham’s chances of claiming a top-two berth in Group E were dented by another defeat in their adopted Champions League home of Wembley. Kevin Kampl’s second-half goal earned Bayer Leverkusen a 1-0 win.

The defeat ensured Spurs slipped to third in the group, two points behind Leverkusen and four behind Monaco, who ran out 3-0 winners against CSKA Moscow, with the former Manchester United and Chelsea forward Radamel Falcao scoring twice.

A Tomás Pina own goal gave Porto a 1-0 win over Club Brugge to leave the Belgian club still pointless in Leicester’s group.