Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was dropped from Borussia Dortmund’s squad but Thomas Tuchel’s side secured progression from Champions League Group F regardless with a 1-0 victory over Sporting CP.
Dortmund’s top scorer Aubameyang had been set to start Wednesday’s clash at Signal Iduna Park but, in a late alteration, the 27-year-old was replaced by Adrian Ramos.
Tuchel cited “internal reasons” as the only explanation for Aubameyang’s suspension, but the forward was not missed as Ramos gave Dortmund the win.
The victory moves Dortmund to the top of Group F and seals their qualification for the knockout stages.
Mateo Kovacic denied Legia Warsaw a famous Champions League victory, but holders Real Madrid still have work to do to reach the last 16 after a remarkable 3-3 draw.
Gareth Bale scored Madrid’s fastest Champions League goal after 57 seconds with a magnificent long-range volley in a contest played behind closed doors at the Polish Army Stadium due to crowd trouble during Legia’s home match with Borussia Dortmund in September.
And when Karim Benzema doubled the lead it looked as if Madrid would ease to a place in the knockout stages.
Despite a lack of any home advantage, Legia displayed impressive resiliency and produced an incredible turnaround to lead 3-2.
Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe pulled one back five minutes before half-time, with Miroslav Radovic then firing into the bottom-right corner to level matters in the 58th minute.
And the sparse crowd of club officials in attendance looked set to witness one of the biggest shocks in Champions League history when Thibault Moulin curled in off the post for Legia’s third, only for Kovacic to cap off a neat Madrid move and ensure a share of the spoils with five minutes left.
The draw means Madrid are now two points behind Group F leaders Borussia Dortmund and five ahead of Sporting CP. Meanwhile, Legia can no longer progress, but still harbour hope of a Europa League place.
Sevilla cruised to a comfortable 4-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday to take charge of Champions League Group H and move to the brink of qualification for the knockout phase.
Jorge Sampaoli’s men would have secured progression if Juventus had also beaten Lyon, but the French side claimed a commendable 1-1 draw in Turin, forcing Sevilla to remain patient with two matches to go – from which they need a solitary point.
Juventus missed the opportunity to punch their ticket to the Champions League knockout stages as Corentin Tolisso’s late header earned Lyon a 1-1 draw in Turin.
Serie A champions Juve knew a win at Juventus Stadium on Wednesday would have been enough to secure a last-16 berth.
Follow us on Twitter/Instagram: @Four4TwoMedia