LEIPZIG, Dec 7 ― RB Leipzig's hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stages in their debut European season were ended after they suffered a 2-1 home defeat by Besiktas amid late drama yesterday.
The German side, who had to achieve a better result than Porto to finish second behind Group G winners Besiktas, were beaten by a half-volleyed 90th minute strike from Brazil Under-23 international Talisca.
The goal came three minutes after the Bundesliga side, already down to 10 men, thought they had escaped defeat against the odds with a fine Naby Keita goal.
The Guinean international brought them back into a game that had looked lost when Stefan Ilsanker picked up his second yellow card in the 82nd minute for a cynical foul on Cenk Tosun.
Yet Leipzig's hopes of progressing had effectively been ruined after only 10 minutes when Alvaro Negredo put the Turkish side ahead from the penalty spot after a foul by captain Willi Orban on Jeremain Lens.
“We gave it our all and go out with our heads held high,” Orban told reporters.
Although the home side dominated, they struggled to break down a defence inspired by the tremendous goalkeeping of Tolga Zengin, who made four outstanding saves.
“We had enough chances for two matches, but their keeper had an amazing game,” added Orban.
Besiktas's victory took their tally at the top of the group to 14 points, with Porto taking second spot on 10 after a 5-2 win over Monaco. Leipzig had to settle for third place and Europa League football on seven points.
Besiktas could also celebrate a record-breaking campaign, having become the only Turkish team ever to qualify undefeated while winning four matches in the group stages of the Champions League. ― Reuters