Football: Bayer Leverkusen and Olympiakos qualify for Champions League last 16
- POSTED: 11 Dec 2013 06:45
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German side Bayer Leverkusen and Greek outfit Olympiakos both booked their places in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday after winning their final group matches.
PARIS: German side Bayer Leverkusen and Greek outfit Olympiakos both booked their places in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday after winning their final group matches.
Leverkusen assured that they would finish as runners-up to Manchester United in Group A with a 1-0 at bottom side Real Sociedad, while United's 1-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk consigned the Ukrainians to the Europa League.
Olympiakos reached the knockout stages for the first time since the 2009/10 season, though they made life difficult for themselves by missing two penalties before beating Group C whipping boys Anderlecht 3-1, the Belgian side reduced to eight players by the end.
Benfica take third and the Europa League spot from Group C despite beating group winners Paris Saint Germain 2-1.
Sami Hyppia's men went into the game knowing they needed to better the Ukrainian champions' result and they deservedly went ahead four minutes into the second half when defender Omer Toprak slammed home from close range.
Leverkusen should have added to their advantage as Stefan Kiessling hit the post and was also denied by a fine save from Enaut Zubikarai.
And the Bundesliga side were nearly made to pay for their profligacy as Antoine Griezmann forced Bernd Leno into an important save with a low header 17 minutes from time.
United's victory means they top the group, while Leverkusen are likely to face a tricky tie against another group winner when the draw for the last 16 is made in Nyon, Switzerland on December 16.
Former Argentina international Javier Saviola scored twice and missed a penalty as Olympiakos reached the Champions League knockout stages with a 3-1 win over eight-man Anderlecht on Tuesday.
Benfica beat Group C winners Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in Lisbon elsewhere on Tuesday, but the Greek champions' win secured them second place and a berth in 10 the last 16 for the first time since 2010.
Their victory in a dramatic game, which featured three home penalties and three red cards for the visitors, means they edge out Benfica courtesy of a better head-to-head record after both teams finished with 10 points.