Zenit, Schalke book round of 16 ticket
Schalke took advantage of some questionable refereeing decisions to beat a 10-man Basel 2-0 on Wednesday and advance to last 16 of the Champions League.
Basel finished third in Group E and will play in the Europa League. Schalke joined group winner Chelsea in the knockout stage of the Champions League. Chelsea finished with 12 points after beating last-place Steaua 1-0. Schalke had 10 points and Basel finished with eight.
Julian Draxler put Schalke ahead in the 51st and Joel Matip secured the victory in the 57th – but was clearly offside, along with three other Schalke players. But the flag stayed down and the goal stood.
Zenit St. Petersburg advanced to the knockout stage of the Champions League despite slumping to a 4-1 defeat at already eliminated Austria Vienna on Wednesday.
Zenit finished second in Group G and qualified with a record-low six points, one clear of Porto, which lost 2-0 at group winners Atletico. A former two-time champion, Porto will continue in the Europa League.
Aleksandr Kerzhakov put Zenit ahead in the 35th before Philipp Hosiner leveled in the closing seconds of the first half. Goals from Tomas Jun in the 48th, Hosiner three minutes later and Roman Kienast in injury time gave Austria Vienna the win – the first for an Austrian team in the competition in almost 13 years.
”We deserved this victory though the scoreline is a bit flattering,” Austria coach Nenad Bjelica said. ”Zenit didn’t play at their best but we did well to punish them.”
Before kick-off, Greenpeace protesters entered the pitch carrying a banner, protesting against Russian oil drilling in the Arctic by Champions League sponsor Gazprom. Referee Aleksandar Stavrev of Macedonia interrupted the match for two minutes in the first half after firecrackers went off and fireworks were thrown from the Russian fan sector onto lower stands.
Atletico Madrid denied FC Porto a chance to reach the last 16 of the Champions League with a 2-0 victory to close out Group G on Wednesday.
Raul Garcia turned to score a tight-angled volley in the 14th minute before Diego Costa scored his 19th goal of the season in the 37th for unbeaten Atletico to finish top of the standings with 16 points. Porto hit the woodwork several times and will rue a 28th-minute missed penalty by Josue.
Porto, a two-time European champion, finished third behind Zenit St. Petersburg and will now play in the Europa League.
Atletico can take a measure of satisfaction from the win after Porto dumped it into the Europa League during the 2009/10 season on the last matchday. Porto would have advanced to the last 16 with a victory since Zenit lost 4-1 at previously winless Austria Vienna.