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Champions League: RB Leipzig through to knockouts, sends Manchester United on verge of exit

RB Leipzig knew that only a victory would see them safely through and they made their intention clear right from the opening whistle.

SNS | New Delhi |

RB Leipzig qualified for the Round of 16 of the ongoing season of the UEFA Champions League after beating Manchester United 3-2 in a thriller on Tuesday.

The English side’s fate hangs on the other Group H match between PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir, which was cancelled due to alleged racial abuse from a match official.

Leipzig knew that only a victory would see them safely through and they made their intention clear right from the opening whistle. Angelino, Amadou Haidara and Justin Kluivert scored to give the German team a 3-0 lead.

However, brilliant late efforts from Manchester United and goals from Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba made the last 6-7 minutes of the match more thrilling than one could have imagined.

The hosts made a fairy-tale start as Marcel Sabitzer’s cross allowed Angelino to beat United goalkeeper David de Gea with only two minutes played, reports Xinhua news agency.

Julian Nagelsmann’s men were ice-cold in front of goal and doubled their advantage 11 minutes later when Haidara volleyed home Angelino’s build-up work to astound the visitors from Old Trafford.

United weren’t able to respond for the remainder of the first half, while the hosts thought they had killed the game at the half-hour mark but Willi Orban’s goal was ruled offside.

After the restart, Leipzig focused on defense as United came out with all guns blazing without posing a lot of danger in front of goal.

The visitors resorted to shots from distance, but only Bruno Fernandes came close after rattling the woodwork following a free-kick in the 68th minute.

Just when United looked about to score, it was Leipzig who made it 3-0, as Kluivert made the most of Angelino’s flicked-on cross and beat de Gea from close range in the 69th minute.

The match wasn’t over yet as United started an onslaught while Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi denied promising chances from Scott McTominay and Mason Greenwood as the match progressed.

United were eventually able to halve the deficit in the 80th minute after Fernandes converted a penalty.

The visitors continued to reduce the arrears two minutes later as Paul Pogba’s deflected header made it 3-2.

The Red Devils pressed frenetically for an equalizer, but Leipzig’s defense stood firm to clinch a crucial win and progress to the knockout stages, while also condemning United to drop into the Europa League.

With the result, Leipzig take the lead in Group H with 12 points followed by Paris Saint-Germain (9 points), Manchester United (9 points) and Istanbul Basaksehir (3 points).

With IANS inputs