RB Leipzig 2-2 Benfica: Late Forsberg double sends hosts through to last 16

Oleh Daniel Lewis 28 November 2019 15
RB Leipzig 2-2 Benfica: Late Forsberg double sends hosts through to last 16

Emil Forsberg scored two late goals, including a 96th-minute equaliser, to send RB Leipzig through to the last 16 of the Champions League with a 2-2 draw against Benfica.

Benfica needed victory to remain in the competition and held a two-goal lead late in Wednesday's clash at Red Bull Arena.

Leipzig suffered an early setback when Pizzi struck and Carlos Vinicius added a second just before the hour to seemingly kill off the contest.

But the Bundesliga high-flyers picked up the point they needed to advance through thanks to Forsberg's dramatic double, the Sweden international converting a penalty and then heading in at the death.

The visitors took the lead inside 20 minutes through Pizzi's deflected finish into the bottom-right corner after he was teed up by Adel Taarabt.

Christopher Nkunku fired a close-range shot straight at Odisseas Vlachodimos, and the visiting goalkeeper was equal to Marcel Sabitzer's half-volley as Leipzig pushed for a leveller, also seeing penalty appeals waved away.

The offside flag then denied Sabitzer when he converted a parried Forsberg strike, but Pizzi nearly doubled Benfica's lead before half-time with a curling shot against the crossbar.

What appeared to be the all important second goal went the way of Benfica, Vinicius making the most of Lukas Klostermann's error to charge through one-on-one and calmly slot past Peter Gulacsi, who was caught in the head by the goalscorer's trailing leg and had to be replaced.

However, Forsberg converted from the penalty spot after Ruben Dias challenged substitute Patrik Schick inside the box, before heading in Timo Werner's cross with six of the nine added-on minutes played.

 

What does it mean? Leipzig through, Benfica eliminated

Forsberg's late double could not have been any more dramatic given the outcome for both sides.

Leipzig are into the knockout stage of the Champions League for the first time, while Benfica can no longer overtake both Lyon and Zenit, who are level on seven points heading into the final round of fixtures.

Forsberg the hero for Leipzig

Just when it was looking as though it was going to be one of those days for Leipzig, up popped Forsberg with a couple of late goals.

The 28-year-old now has back-to-back braces for the German side, having also found the net twice in the 4-1 win against Cologne last weekend, once again proving what a valuable asset he is.

Dias tackle proves damaging

Dias made a needless challenge on Schick inside the box to gift Leipzig a route back into the match. Cruising at 2-0 up, that goal changed the complexion of the game and the hosts made their momentum count.

Key Opta Facts

- Benfica have now failed to win in 11 away games in the European Cup/Champions League against German opposition, losing each of their previous 10.
- Leipzig's two goals to draw the match were the latest goals they have ever scored in the Champions League, having never previously netted in the 90th minute in the competition.
- Emil Forsberg has been involved in three goals in his past two Champions League matches for Leipzig (two goals, one assist) – as many as in his first 14 appearances in the competition with Leipzig and Malmo (also two goals, one assist).

What's next?

Leipzig return to Bundesliga action with a trip to bottom side Paderborn on Saturday, the same day that Benfica host Maritimo in the Primeira Liga.

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Daniel Lewis

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