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Forsberg double sends Leipzig into knockout stage

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By Reuters
Forsberg double sends Leipzig into knockout stage
Soccer Football - Champions League - Group G - RB Leipzig v Benfica - Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, Germany - November 27, 2019 RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg in action REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel   -   Copyright  MATTHIAS RIETSCHEL(Reuters)

LEIPZIG, Germany (Reuters) – Emil Forsberg struck twice late in the game to earn RB Leipzig a 2-2 draw against Benfica on Wednesday that saw the Bundesliga side advance to the Champions League knockout stages.

Sweden international Forsberg scored an 89th minute penalty and then headed in another in stoppage time to send the Germans through with a game to spare and end Benfica’s Champions League hopes for this season.

Goals from Pizzi and Carlos Vinicius had put the visitors ahead before Forsberg’s brace completed the hosts’ late turnaround.

Leipzig are on 10 points in Group G while Zenit St Petersburg moved up to seven with a 2-0 victory over Olympique Lyonnais, who are third on goal difference. Benfica are last on four points.

Pizzi came close to adding a second a minute before the break but his superbly curled shot bounced off the crossbar.

Leipzig needed only a point to secure their knockout stage spot but Benfica keeper Odisseas Vlachodimos denied Christopher Nkunku in a one-on-one in the first half with a fine save.

With Leipzig dominating and in search of the crucial equaliser after the restart, Benfica found the space to counter attack and Vinicius broke clear after Lukas Klostermann slipped and easily beat keeper Peter Gulacsi in the 59th minute.

The hosts earned an 89th minute penalty and Forsberg beat Vlachodimos to make it 2-1 before heading in the equaliser.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ian Chadband)