By FRANCO PANIZO
Borussia Dortmund were on the brink of a shockingly early exit from this season’s competition, but some late heroics saved them from doom and saw them reach the knockout stages.
Level late in their match against a 10-man Olympique Marseille side on Wednesday, Dortmund was facing the serious possibility of being eliminated in the group stage of the competition before Kevin Grosskreutz scored a winner in the 86th minute to push the German club to a 2-1 victory. The dramatic goal and victory left Dortmund tied on points with Arsenal and Napoli (12 apiece) in Group F, but the latter club was the one that failed to advance to the next round due to goal differential and despite beating second-place Arsenal, 2-0, in their Wednesday fixture.
There was not much drama in Barcelona’s battle with Celtic, but there was a dazzling performance from Neymar. The Brazilian international shone for the Spanish giants in their final group game, scoring a hat-trick and adding an assist in a 6-1 victory that assured Barcelona finished atop Group H.
AC Milan was the other team to advance out of that group, and they did so after picking up a scoreless draw with Ajax. The Dutch team needed a victory to secure advancement ahead of the Milan, but were unable to find the back of the net despite having a man advantage for more than an hour.
Here is a full rundown of Wednesday’s results (bolded teams secured advancement to the knockout rounds):
Galatasaray 1-0 Juventus
Chelsea 1-0 Steaua Bucuresti
Schalke 04 2-0 FC Basel
Marseille 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
Napoli 2-0 Arsenal
Atletico Madrid 2-0 FC Porto
Austria Vienna 4-1 Zenit St Petersburg
AC Milan 0-0 Ajax
Barcelona 6-1 Celtic
What do you think of these results? Which teams do you think are poised to make a deep run in the knockout phase? How impressed are you by Neymar’s performance?
Share your thoughts below.