|Galatasaray players celebrate after their Champions League match victory over Juventus on Wednesday.|
GENEVA (AP) ― Borussia Dortmund needed Kevin Grosskreutz’s 87th-minute goal to beat Marseille 2-1 and reach the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday, eliminating Napoli despite its victory over Arsenal in a dramatic Group F climax.
Dortmund won the group ahead of Arsenal, which lost 2-0 to Napoli as all three teams finished at 12 points and head-to-head tiebreakers sent the Italians out.
“What a feeling! We were almost out of the competition. This is great. We deserved it. And I didn’t even hit the ball right,” said Grosskreutz, who was born and raised in Dortmund.
On a tense day for Italian clubs, AC Milan advanced by clinging on for a 0-0 draw at home to Ajax after captain Riccardo Montolivo was sent off in the 22nd minute.
Juventus exited in the afternoon after Galatasaray scored late to win 1-0 in bad weather and pitch conditions in Istanbul. The match resumed after being abandoned in snow and hail on Tuesday night.
Barcelona’s progress was smooth and easy as Neymar scored three in a 6-1 rout of Celtic, ensuring the Spanish champion won Group H ahead of Milan to be seeded in the draw on Monday.
Schalke beat Basel 2-0 to finish runner-up behind Group E winner Chelsea, which beat last-placed Steaua Bucharest 1-0.
Germany will have four teams in the last-16 draw for the first time, and England also has its full quartet remaining. Italy has only Milan, confirming the recent slump of Serie A clubs in Europe’s top competition.
Zenit St. Petersburg advanced with the worst record, stuck on just six points ― six fewer than Napoli ― after losing 4-1 at Austria Vienna.
However, third-place Porto failed to take advantage, having a penalty saved in its 2-0 loss at Group G winner Atletico Madrid.
|Marseille supporters hold a banner in tribute to Nelson Mandela on Wednesday. (AFP-Yonhap News)|
Dortmund’s progress seemed under control when Polish forward Robert Lewandowski scored in the fourth minute against Marseille, which lost all its group matches.
Though Souleymane Diawara tied it with a header in the 14th, Marseille was soon reduced to 10 men when Dimitri Payet was shown a second yellow card for being adjudged to have dived in the Germans’ penalty area. When Grosskreutz scored, Napoli then led Arsenal through Gonzalo Higuain’s 73rd-minute goal but needed to win by three goals.