Copenhagen beats Galatasaray 1-0 to reach Champions League last 16. Lerager scores and is sent off

Tue, Dec 12, 2023
Soccer News (AP)

Copenhagen beats Galatasaray 1-0 to reach Champions League last 16. Lerager scores and is sent off

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - In the end, it didn't matter what Manchester United did.

Copenhagen's 1-0 win over Galatasaray on Tuesday booked the Danish champion's place in the knockout stage of the Champions League from second place in Group A and ensured that even a United win over Bayern Munich wouldn't have been enough for Erik ten Hag's troubled team.

United, which lost 1-0 to Bayern, had needed Copenhagen and Galatasaray to draw to keep its hopes alive. Galatasaray finishes third and will drop into the Europa League, while United is last.

Lukas Lerager scored the only goal of the game but was later sent off to give Galatasaray hope of a late comeback.

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After a tense first half lacking much creativity from either team, Copenhagen made the breakthrough in the 58th minute when Elias Achouri crossed low for Lerager to score his third Champions League goal of the season as the Galatasaray defense was slow to react.

The midfielder was sent off for collecting two yellow cards in five minutes late on, one for a push on Baris Alper Yilmaz, the other for a clumsy tackle.

Galatasaray needed a win to qualify, but that rarely seemed likely. The Turkish team came closest in stoppage time when Mauro Icardi had a shot saved by goalkeeper Kamil Grabara. Soon after, Davinson Sanchez had a header blocked by Denis Vavro, with Grabara still out of position from the earlier save.

Icardi could have set up a goal in the 73rd when he backheeled the ball for Kerem Akturkoglu in space in the penalty area, but Akturkoglu's shot soared over the bar.

Copenhagen is into the Champions League round of 16 for only the second time. In the 2010-11 season, it survived a group also containing Barcelona - the Champions League winners that season - along with Rubin Kazan and Panathinaikos.

Copenhagen got no further than that, losing to Chelsea 2-0 on aggregate in the last 16. Galatasaray hasn't been in the knockout round since 2013-14.

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