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Tuesday December 12th, 2017 4:44PM

Already through, Besiktas beats Leipzig in Champions League

By The Associated Press
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LEIPZIG, Germany (AP) — Leipzig's Champions League debut ended in a 2-1 home loss to Group G winner Besiktas on Wednesday.

Just when Naby Keita thought he'd salvaged a draw for the home side, Brazilian midfielder Talisca scored with a half-volley in the final minute to earn Besiktas all three points.

It's the first time Besiktas has reached the knockout stages, and the first time a Turkish side progressed as group winner.

Leipzig's hopes of progress depended on a favor from Monaco at Porto, which went through as group runner-up after beating the French side 5-2. Leipzig could only go through if it secured more points than the Portuguese team.

"The team showed morale and never stopped," Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl said. "We really wanted to win the game and tried everything, but we weren't the most fortunate with our chances at the end today."

It started badly for the Bundesliga side when Alvaro Negredo fired the visitors ahead with a penalty conceded by Leipzig captain Willi Orban for bringing down Jeremain Lens.

The home side's hopes of progress were made worse with the news that Porto had already taken the lead at home against Monaco.

Timo Werner thought he had equalized some 10 minutes later, when the linesman's flag stayed down. Referee Viktor Kassai ruled the goal out for offside after consulting him, however. TV replays showed it was the correct decision.

Jean-Kevin Augustin went close to an equalizer after the break, Keita tried his luck, and Werner brought the best from Tolga Zengin. The Besiktas goalkeeper and captain produced a host of saves to keep his side in front.

"The goalkeeper played the game of his life," Orban said.

Leipzig's Stefan Ilsanker was sent off for his second yellow card, then Keita made the breakthrough with three minutes remaining.

By then, however, Porto was all but assured of second place in the group.

Talisca completed a frustrating night for the Bundesliga outfit, which has to be content with Europa League football. Monaco finished bottom of the group.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports
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