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Alamy Stock Photo Dusan Tadic celebrates his goal with Noussair Mazraoui.
# Wrap
Ajax beat Dortmund to reach last 16, Leipzig frustrate PSG
Dominik Szoboszlai converted a penalty in stoppage time as RB Leipzig drew with Paris Saint-Germain.

AJAX CAME FROM behind to beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 and qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League Wednesday, but the hosts were left fuming after Mats Hummels was controversially sent off in the first half.

In a tense reprise of Ajax’s thumping 4-0 win in Amsterdam two weeks previously, Dortmund held an unlikely lead almost 40 minutes before Dusan Tadic, Sebastien Haller and Davy Klaassen turned the game to send Ajax into the next round.

Dortmund were furious at English referee Michael Oliver’s decision to send off Hummels in the first half, which they insisted was too harsh.

Victory means Ajax are now guaranteed a place in the knockout rounds, with a six-point lead over both Dortmund and second-placed Sporting Lisbon, who thrashed Besiktas 4-0.

Dortmund’s visit to Lisbon in three weeks time now looks set to decide which of the two will join the Dutch side in the last 16.

Desperate for revenge after their humiliation in Amsterdam, Dortmund missed two good chances to take the lead early on, Mats Hummels shaving the bar with a header before Jude Bellingham missed a sitter minutes later.

The home side were bracing for another miserable night when Hummels was controversially sent off just before the half-hour mark.

The veteran defender was angry after VAR upheld English referee Michael Oliver’s decision to show the red card following a poorly-timed challenge on Antony.

Yet Dortmund showed unusual grit with 10 men, and were rewarded with a VAR decision in their favour just five minutes later.

After Bellingham was clipped by Noussair Mazraoui in the box, Reus buried the resulting penalty into the bottom corner to give the home side an unlikely lead.

Marco Rose’s side weathered an early storm after the break, but they finally buckled with 20 minutes to go.

A dangerous inswinging cross from Antony unsettled the Dortmund defence, and Dusan Tadic prodded the ball in at the far post.

The Brazilian sent an almost identical ball into the area 10 minutes later, and French striker Sebastien Haller nodded in to complete Ajax’s comeback.

Antony completed a hat-trick of assists in injury time, setting up Davy Klaassen with a late tap-in to rub salt in Dortmund’s wounds.

Meanwhile, Dominik Szoboszlai converted a penalty in stoppage time as RB Leipzig held Paris Saint-Germain, who were without the injured Lionel Messi, to a 2-2 draw.

PSG had been cruising to an away win and were 2-1 up with 90 minutes gone as Georginio Wijnaldum netted twice to cancel out Christopher Nkunku’s early goal for the hosts.

In the dying seconds, Leipzig were awarded a penalty when PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe leaped onto Nkunku as a cross came in and substitute Szoboszlai made no mistake with the spot kick.

With Messi out injured, the draw cost PSG first place in Group A and left them a point behind new leaders Manchester City, who thrashed Club Brugge 4-1.

PSG meet City in Manchester in three weeks’ time.

Leipzig’s faint hopes of reaching the last 16 were ended as they remain bottom of their group despite earning their first point in Europe after three previous defeats.

The German club put up a fight in the 3-2 defeat at PSG a fortnight ago and made a lightning start on Wednesday.

With barely 20 seconds gone, PSG captain Marquinhos had to clear off the line as Andre Silva got in behind the defence and forced Gianluigi Donnarumma into a save.

The hosts kept up the pressure and deservedly took the lead when Silva’s cross was met with a superb diving header by Nkunku to claim his fifth Champions League goal in four games.

The 23-year-old was born in the Paris suburbs and joined Leipzig from PSG in 2019.

Leipzig attacked again and when Silva was brought down in the area by Danilo Pereira, the referee pointed to the penalty spot.

However the weak attempt by Silva, who has struggled for form in Leipzig since his summer transfer from Eintracht Frankfurt, was easily saved by Donnarumma with barely 11 minutes played.

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leipzig-germany-03rd-nov-2021-football-champions-league-rb-leipzig-paris-saint-germain-group-stage-group-a-matchday-4-at-red-bull-arena-paris-goal-scorer-georginio-wijnaldum-l-celebrate Alamy Stock Photo Wijnaldum was on target for PSG. Alamy Stock Photo

Angel Di Maria started the break for PSG’s equaliser, Neymar carried on the move and Mbappe supplied the cross which former Liverpool man Wijnaldum flicked into the net on 21 minutes.

Tempers became heated and with half an hour gone, Leipzig coach Jesse Marsch was booked for arguing with the referee.

Wijnaldum doubled his tally when he nodded Marquinhos’ header over the line and the VAR allowed the goal, despite suspicions of offside, to make it 2-1 at the break.

Mbappe should have put the game beyond Leipzig’s reach when he fired over, then shot straight at Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi to waste two clear chances early in the second half.

The visitors were guilty of taking their foot off the gas as Leipzig created the better chances.

Donnarumma just got a glove to a cross, which was heading for Leipzig striker Yussuf Poulsen, then Szoboszlai fired wide for the hosts as PSG lived dangerously.

The game came to a dramatic close when Kimpembe jumped into Nkunku and Szoboszlai calmly slotted home the penalty. 

In Group D, Inter Milan were comfortable 3-1 winners at Sheriff.

© – AFP, 2021


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