Stuttering Dortmund advance despite 2-1 loss to Zenit

Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:57pm EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

DORTMUND, Germany (Reuters) - Borussia Dortmund lost 2-1 to visitors Zenit St Petersburg on Wednesday but advanced 5-4 on aggregate to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the second successive season.

Dortmund, last year's runners-up who won 4-2 in Russia in the first leg, fell a goal behind when Hulk thundered Zenit into the lead with an unstoppable long-range effort in the 16th minute.

Dortmund captain Sebastian Kehl settled the hosts' nerves when he headed in the equalizer in the 38th minute.

But the visitors retook the lead in the 72nd minute through substitute Jose Rondon's diving header.

Dortmund held on in a scrappy finale and the 2-1 defeat was enough to send them into the last eight as the second German team along with Bayern Munich.

In a lively start to the game, Dortmund, who had won eight of their last nine Champions League home games, came close in the fifth minute but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's header sailed narrowly wide.

Zenit, who sacked coach Luciano Spalletti after a run of one win in 12 competitive matches and will be managed by Andre Villas-Boas from Thursday, responded a minute later with an Axel Witsel shot forcing keeper Weidenfeller to make a full-stretch save.

Brazil international Hulk did better with a thundering left-foot drive from 25 meters that left Germany international Weidenfeller with no chance and gave caretaker coach Sergei Semak something to smile about.   Continued...

Zenit St Petersburg's Tomas Hubocan (L) is tackled by Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski during their Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match in Dortmund, March 19, 2014. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender