Round of 16 spot confirmed!
RB Leipzig have booked their place in the last 16 of the Champions League after we defeated Crvena zvezda 2-1 and Manchester City beat Young Boys 3-0.
Leipzig put the pressure on Zvezda from the word go, with our first big chance coming in the eighth minute. Xavi picked the ball up in midfield and jinked his way into the Red Star box, where he curled the ball past the Zvezda keeper to give us an early lead. The hosts immediately went down the other end of the pitch and Janis Blaswich had to gather a dangerous-looking cross from Srdjan Mijailovic. After that, it was all Leipzig again.
Both sides had really good chances just before the break. Lois Openda couldn't quite dribble round goalkeeper Omri Glazer, before Blaswich had to make a first-class save at the other end of the pitch to prevent Osman Bukari from getting Belgrade back on level terms (44’). The goal would have been disallowed for offside, however. Barely a minute later, Emil Forsberg found himself in space in the Zvezda box, but his effort went just wide of the post.
The second-half was a much more open affair. Belgrade played more attacking football, but they didn’t pose a real threat. It was a different story for RBL. Benjamin Sesko’s effort from distance crashed against the post and Openda was denied by Zvezda's goalkeeper after getting on the end of a David Raum cross (51’/53’). However, there was no saving Lois’ shot into the bottom left corner in the 77th minute after the Belgian was played through on goal by Xaver Schlager. The game was far from over, however. Zvezda went straight down the other end of the pitch and put a dangerous ball into the box, which deflected off Benjamin Henrichs and into the Lepzig goal (81’). Blaswich made another important save from close range right at the death to prevent Peter Olayinka from drawing Zvezda level, which helped secure the three points for Leipzig.
Champions League| Crvena Zvezda – RB Leipzig
ZVE: Glazer - Djiga, Dragovic (C), Rodic (85' Katai) – Hwang, Kanga, Lucic (78' Mijatovic), Mijailovic (46' Nedeljkovic), Ivanic (69' Olayinka) – Krasso (46' Ndiaye), Bukari
RBL: Blaswich - Simakan, Castello Jr., Raum, Henrichs – Haidara (83' Seiwald), Schlager (83' Kampl), Xavi (74' Carvalho), Forsberg (C, 70' Baumgartner) – Openda, Sesko (70' Klostermann)
ZVE bench: Popovic, Degenek, Spajic, Kabic, Kangwa, Mitrovic, Stamenic
RBL bench: Gulacsi, Lenz, Poulsen
0-1 Xavi (8'), 0-2 Openda (77'), 1-2 Henrichs (81', OG)
Mijailovic (6'), Krasso (28'), Ivanic (52'), Lucic (73'), Olayinka (90+4') | Simakan (50'), Castello Jr. (56'), Henrichs (59')
Referee: Daniele Orsato
First assistant: Circo Carbone
Second assistant: Alessandro Giallatini
Fourth official: Michael Fabbri
Video assistant: Marco di Bello
45,000 at the Rajko Mitic stadium
6th minute: RBL make a bright start
As expected, there is a great atmosphere inside the Rajko Mitić stadium. Leipzig take control of the game straight away and we’re playing the majority of our football in the opposition half, but we’re yet to have a good chance.
8th minute: Xavi with the early goal
Xavi picks up the ball and drives into Belgrade’s penalty area. Our number 20 is given too much space and he curls the ball beautifully into the far corner of the goal with his right peg.
16th minute: Belgrade pose a threat for the first time
The hosts seem to be slowly growing into the game. Janis Blaswich is called into action following a Mijailovic cross from the right. Striker Ivanic would have been ready to shoot if the ball had got through to him.
35th minute: Leipzig in control
Our boys has been dominant so far and are letting the ball do the work. Zvezda are having to really graft to win it back. We look likely to score a second goal and keep on getting joy down the flanks, but we still have to be wary of Belgrade counter attacks.
40th minute: Haidara’s shot is just over
We up the tempo again just before the break. Amadou Haidara is played through on goal, but unfortunately, his effort goes just over the crossbar. “Doudou” had a lot of space there.
44th minute: Huge chances at both ends
Both sides spurn massive chances in the space of a minute! After Belgrade lose the ball at the back, Lois Openda finds himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Glazer, but our number 17 can’t dribble around the Zvezda shot-stopper. Belgrade then immediately go on the counter-attack and Blaswich makes a fantastic save to prevent Bukari from equalising. The goal would have been disallowed for offside anyway.
45+2 minute: Forsberg has a big chance
This time it’s Forsberg with a big chance, which is created by Openda. The Belgian uses his pace to get past Dragovic and lays the ball across to tonight’s captain. Emil has plenty of space in the box, but his effort goes just wide of the post.
46th minute: Zvezda make a strong start to the second 45
The players are not letting the tempo drop in the second half. Ndiaye, who was brought on at half-time, drives into our penalty area at full steam, but is fortunately prevented from getting his shot off.
51st minute: Sesko hits the post
Close! We almost double our lead when Sesko drives with the ball and unleashes a powerful long shot, which smashes against the post. The ball is then crossed back into the box, but Benjamin can’t turn it goalwards.
53rd minute: Openda denied by fingertip save
It’s chance after chance for RBL. Openda manages to get on the end of a cross from David Raum, but goalie Glazer gets his fingertips to the ball.
64th minute: An open game
Belgrade have been much better in the second half and have looked dangerous going forward. However, we have been able to deal with the pressure so far.
74th minute: Blaswich makes a superb reaction save
Janis is in the right place once again to make two excellent, close-range saves from Olayinka and Ndiaye. However, the follow-up shot wouldn’t have counted, as the Zvezda man was offside. And breathe...
77th minute: Openda doubles our lead!
RBL break away quickly on the counter. Xaver Schlager slips a lovely ball through to Lois Openda, who produces an ice-cold finish to put us 2-0 up!
81st minute: Zvezda get one back
Kanga whips a ball into the RBL box after a short corner. The ball takes a deflection off Benny Henrichs and ends up in the Leipzig goal.