Champions League

Legia beats Sporting to earn Europa League spot

2016-12-08 08:30
Guilherme (Getty Images)

Warsaw - Even Poland's president joined in the celebrations after Legia Warsaw marked the club's return to the Champions League after more than two decades with its first victory in the group stage.

Players said that President Andrzej Duda went to the changing rooms to congratulate them after Legia defeated Sporting Lisbon 1-0 in its final Group F game on Wednesday.

After four defeats and a draw in this season's competition, the victory secured third place and a spot in the Europa League.

"This is one of the best moments of my life. The president of Poland came to our dressing room and sang with us. It means we did something special tonight," forward Aleksandar Prijovic said.

Prijovic set up Guilherme's goal from close range in the 30th minute, a strike that brought the hosts their first victory since a 1-0 triumph over Blackburn Rovers in 1995, the last time it played in the competition's group stage.

Sporting, which arrived with a two-point lead and could have secured third place with a draw, played with 10 men from the 85th minute after midfielder William Carvalho was sent off for a second yellow card.

The Portuguese side hasn't won an away game in the competition since 2008, losing six of its seven games since then.

"We played against a team that believed they could qualify tonight," Sporting coach Jorge Jesus said.

"They had already showed they were good in the attack, because they had scored plenty of goals against Real Madrid and (Borussia) Dortmund. They got the advantage and they knew how to defend that advantage."

Dortmund, which scored late to draw Madrid 2-2 in Spain, won the group with 14 points, two more than the defending champions.

Legia ended with four points and Sporting three.

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