Soccer-Leipzig cruise past Shakhtar to reach Champions League last 16

Soccer-Leipzig cruise past Shakhtar to reach Champions League last 16

WARSAW : Christopher Nkunku scored one goal and set up another as RB Leipzig crushed Shakhtar Donetsk 4-0 on Wednesday to qualify for the Champions League last 16, while the Ukrainians dropped down to the Europa League.

Leipzig, who only needed a point to advance to the knockout stage, took the lead in the 10th minute when Timo Werner’s shot was saved by Shakhtar goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin but Nkunku was on hand to slot home the rebound.

Five minutes into the second half, Mohamed Simakan headed the ball back into the box after David Raum’s cross and it fell to Andre Silva, who doubled the visitors’ advantage by prodding the ball home at the near post from a tight angle.

Nkunku kept his composure to set up Dominik Szoboszlai on the right with an audacious flick just after the hour mark, and the Hungarian winger rounded goalkeeper Trubin before firing into the unguarded net.

Substitute Dani Olmo, who replaced Szoboszlai, piled more misery on Shakhtar moments after coming on, taking a free kick short to Kevin Kampl before cutting back inside and whipping a shot into the far corner in the 68th minute, with his effort deflecting in off Shakhtar’s Valerii Bondar.

Leipzig finished second in Group D on 12 points, six ahead of Shakhtar in third. Holders Real Madrid retained top spot with 13 points after their 5-1 home win over bottom side Celtic.

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