FC Copenhagen qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League for the second time in their history on Tuesday thanks to a Lukas Lerager winner against Galatasaray in Copenhagen.
The Danish champions overcame the odds in a group featuring Manchester United and Galatasaray to book their place in the knockout stages for the first time since 2010-11.
Copenhagen finished the night where they started it, in second place, though they ensured qualification in style with a second win of this campaign.
Elsewhere in Group A, Galatasaray dropped into the Europa League playoffs while Manchester United fell out of European competition completely.
Lerager’s second-half tap-in ensured Copenhagen kept their fate in their own hands with a win that gave them a three-point lead over the Turkish side in third place.
In the opening 45 minutes both sides showed intent but lacked a cutting edge on a nervy night where all was to play for.
The best chance fell inside the first 10 minutes to the side who were going through as things stood.
Slick Copenhagen passing resulted in Mohamed Elyounoussi supplying Peter Ankersen inside the box, but his right-footed strike flashed just beyond the far post.
The breakthrough then came for the hosts 13 minutes after half-time when midfielder Lerager converted from inside the six-yard box after being set up by Elias Achouri.
With their participation in the Champions League disappearing before their eyes, Galatasaray drove forward towards the white wall of noise that the home fans generated behind Kamil Grabara’s goal.
Kerem Akturkoglu seemed set to give the Turkish side a lifeline back into the match on 74 minutes when he raced onto a backheel from Mauro Icardi yards out from goal, but his wild effort flew over the bar.
Goalscorer Lerager picked up a second yellow on the stroke of full-time for a foul on Akturkoglu, however his side held out for the three minutes of additional time in front of a delirious home crowd.
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