Defence finally stands firm as draw earns Roma last 16 ticket

Despite conceding 16 goals in their five ties up to last night, Roma’s scoreless draw against BATE Borisov ensured they nudged through to the last-16 of the Uefa Champions League.

Defence finally stands firm as draw earns Roma last 16 ticket

Had Borisov been more clinical in the Italian capital last night, or Bayer Leverkusen beaten instead of drawn against Barcelona, then Roma would have been out.

Instead, they stood firm at home to repel the Belarusians thanks to some excellent goalkeeping by Wojciech Szczesny whilst Leverkusen spurned a litany of chances at the Bay Arena.

Although Lionel Messi fired the holders into a 20th-minute lead, Barcelona found themselves defending once Javier Hernandez equalised three minutes later.

Overall, the Germans created 26 goal chances, compared to just six from the already-qualified Spaniards, but couldn’t rattle the net of Marc-Andre ter Stegan amid the deluge of efforts.

Former Manchester United striker Hernandez, who brought his tally to 12 in 11 games for his new club, was guilty of squandering a number of those opportunities. After finishing level on six points with Roma, they missed out on the head-to-head rule.

Elsewhere, goal-machine Robert Lewandowski grabbed both goals in Bayern Munich’s 2-0 Group F victory over Dinamo Zagreb. The Germans were already assured of their passage but still made light work of inflicting a fifth straight defeat on the Croatians. Lewandowski has now scored 18 times in 16 games this season.

Dynamo Kiev joined Chelsea in the draw as the second qualifier from Group G. Denis Garmash’s goal sealed a 1-0 triumph for the clean-sheet specialists over Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

In Group H, the fairytale debut campaign for KAA Gent continued as they progressed into the knockout phase courtesy of a 2-1 win against table-toppers Zenit St Petersburg.

With Gary Neville’s Valencia beaten by Lyon in Spain, the Belgians took full advantage by ending the perfect record of the Russians in style even though defeat would have still sent them through.

Highly-rated striker Lauren Depoitre put the hosts ahead on 18 minutes before Russian international Artyom Dzyuba equalised with 22 minutes left.

Danijel Milicevic supplied Gent’s 78th-minute winner.

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