Dortmund leave it late, Milan limp into last 16

Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:42pm EST
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By Justin Palmer

LONDON (Reuters) - Last season's runners-up Borussia Dortmund were spared a Champions League exit when a dramatic late goal from Kevin Grosskreutz sent the German side into the last 16 on Wednesday.

Dortmund, who beat Olympique Marseille 2-1, Arsenal and Napoli all finished on 12 points with the Bundesliga team topping Group F and the Italians proving the odd side out on head-to-head superiority despite a 2-0 victory over the English Premier League leaders.

AC Milan will be Italy's only representatives in the knockout stage as Galatasaray, Zenit St Petersburg and Schalke 04 secured the remaining last 16 places in Monday's draw which will feature four representatives each from the Premier League and Bundesliga.

Barcelona, who should have Lionel Messi back from injury when the competition resumes in February, signed off from the group phase in style with Brazil striker Neymar scoring a hat-trick, his first Champions League goals, in a 6-1 romp over Celtic at the Nou Camp.

Jose Mourinho can also look forward to the draw as Group E winners Chelsea went through the motions in overcoming Steaua Bucharest 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Napoli, who drop into the Europa League, are only the second team to be eliminated from the group phase with 12 points from six games after Paris St Germain in 1997-98.

In contrast, Russia's Zenit finished runners-up in Group G by becoming the first team to qualify for the knockout stages with six points.

Injury-hit Dortmund were just minutes away from a trapdoor into Europe's second-tier competition when Grosskreutz found the back of the net with a deflected shot three minutes from time against 10-man Marseille.   Continued...

Olympique Marseille's Florian Thauvin challenges Borussia Dortmund's Kevin Grosskreutz during their Champions League soccer match at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, December 11, 2013. REUTERS/Philippe Laurenson