Manchester City's midfielder Brahim Diaz (2nd-R) drives the ball during the Champions League football match against Shakhtar Donetsk on December 6 in Kharkiv, Eastern Ukraine. -AFP
Inspired by Brazilians Bernard and Ismaily, Shakhtar Donetsk qualified for the Champions League last 16 with a 2-1 victory over a much-changed and subdued Manchester City on Wednesday. Talisca saw RB Leipzig end their first Champions League campaign with a bitter 2-1 defeat at home to Besiktas on Wednesday night. Porto's comprehensive 5-2 victory over Monaco in the other Group G game meant that even a win would not have been enough for Leipzig to progress from the group stage.
First-half goals from Shakhtar's Brazilian pair, both created by Brazilian-born Ukraine international Marlos, proved enough to ensure the Ukraine champions would go into the draw on Monday with a plum tie against the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain on the cards. Shakhtar needed only a point to secure their progress as Group F runners-up behind City from a match that, including Marlos, featured nine Brazilians from the start.
In the end, the Ukrainians could even have afforded to lose as Napoli lost 2-1 to 10-man Feyenoord in Rotterdam thanks to an injury time goal from Jeremiah St. Juste. Although City dominated possession -- enjoying more than two-thirds of that -- Pep Guardiola's side were totally out of sorts and slumped to a first defeat this season.
With their Champions League exit beyond doubt, Leipzig appeared to have salvaged some pride by coming from behind to level against group winners Besiktas thanks to a Naby Keita strike three minutes from time.But Talisca's 90th-minute effort snatched victory for the Turkish side. Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo's ninth-minute penalty had given Besiktas the lead after Willi Orban was penalized for a reckless challenge on Jeremain Lens.
"I can't remember a game in which we had so many chances," said Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl. "The penalty was a bad start, but the team showed great morale."With Porto running riot at home to Monaco, Leipzig were never really in with a chance of leapfrogging the Portuguese side to take second place. The Bundesliga outfit did respond well, and Orban could have made amends for the penalty when a loose ball fell to him in front of the Besiktas goal on 15 minutes.
However, he dragged his shot onto the post, while Timo Werner and Bruma both forced smart saves from Tolga Zengin later in the first half. Werner was ruled offside after finding the net on 21 minutes, before the referee waved away an optimistic penalty appeal from Jean-Kevin Augustin.
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