Champions League

Valbuena's goal sends Marseille through

Highlights: Borussia Dortmund vs. Marseille
Highlights: Borussia Dortmund vs. Marseille
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UCL RESULTS: DEC. 6

 
Tuesday, December 6
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Mathieu Valbuena's dramatic late strike booked Marseille's place in the last 16 of the Champions League after the French side rallied from two goals down at Borussia Dortmund.

Valbuena popped up with the clinching strike three minutes from full-time after goals from Loic Remy and Andre Ayew had earlier cancelled out a Jakub Blaszczykowski strike and a Mats Hummels penalty for the hosts.

With Olympiacos beating Group F winners Arsenal in Greece, only a victory would have sufficed for Marseille, and Valbuena's heroics ensured the Mediterranean club finished just a point behind the Gunners, with Olympiacos forced to settle for a place in the Europa League.

Bottom side Dortmund started the match knowing that only a victory by at least four goals would give them any chance of reaching the next round, and set about their task brightly in the opening period.

They made the breakthrough midway through the first half when Sebastian Kehl's header was touched off by Robert Lewandowski for Blaszczykowski to drill home a low shot that raised the hopes of the Westfalenstadion faithful.

Lucas Barrios and Lewandowski then went close for Dortmund as the hosts laid siege to the opposition goal, and their pressure was further rewarded on 32 minutes when Kehl received a blow to the head from the high boot of Stephane Mbia and the referee signalled for a penalty.

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Kehl's injury was too bad for him to continue, the skipper replaced by Antonio Da Silva, but Hummels at least made up for Kehl's pains by calmly tucking home the spot-kick beyond Steve Mandanda.

Dortmund were good value for their two-goal lead but their French opponents caught them with a sucker punch right at the end of the half to dent home hopes.

In the fourth minute of injury time - the bulk of which coming as a result of the injury to Kehl - Morgan Amalfitano produced a great cross from the right flank to which Remy was first to react, stealing in ahead of Lukasz Piszczek to nod into the corner.

Dortmund suffered another blow at the break with the influential Mario Gotze unable to resume after picking up a knock. Ivan Perisic was brought on in his place.

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Although the second period saw both sides push forward in search of goals, there was little by way of clear-cut chances, with speculative efforts by Da Silva and Lewandowski the best the hosts could muster in the opening 20 minutes.

Alou Diarra headed a Amalfitano corner wide on 63 minutes as Marseille almost got back on level terms, while Piszczek flashed a shot wide after 80 minutes as Dortmund's hopes began to look increasingly forlorn.

Dortmund's chances were finally extinguished five minutes from time when Amalfitano's corner was met by Ayew's thumping header into the top-right corner.

Marseille still needed a goal to be sure of reaching the knockout stage, and it arrived just three minutes from the end when Valbuena dribbled into the penalty area from the left and sent a rising shot into the net to book OM's place in the last 16.

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