Europa League Group B Round-Up: Holders Atletico Madrid Crash Out While Aris Thessaloniki Progress To Round Of 32

Europa League holders Atletico Madrid have been knocked-out after only managing a point in Leverkusen, while Aris defeated Rosenborg to take second place in the group...
Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Atletico Madrid

Europa League holders Atletico Madrid were held to a draw in snowy Leverkusen, which leaves them out of the tournament after Aris defeated Rosenborg to dramatically snatch second place.

There were few clear-cut chances in a cagey opening period although Diego Forlan did spurn one opportunity after being put through by Kun Aguero and the Uruguayan also shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box on 39 minutes.

Nevertheless, the first-half was largely dictated by the strong defences on both sides and it was scoreless at the break with Leverkusen enjoying the lion's share of the possession.

The interval brought two significant substitutions for die Werkself, with Stefan Kiessling making a return to action after three months out with injury, coming on for Renato Augusto. Furthermore, young defender Danny da Costa was given his first-team bow in place of Gonzalo Castro.

The game truly sparked into life with the opening goal in the 70th minute. Leverkusen striker Patrick Helmes found himself one-on-one with David De Gea and he made no mistake in the freezing conditions, handing Jupp Heynckes' men a deserved lead.

However, los Rojiblancos are the holders for a reason and battled to keep their trophy defence alive by levelling matters two minutes later.

Moments after replacing Simao, Fran Merida reacted quickest to the rebound from fellow substitute Douglas Costa's shot and he left Fabian Giefer no chance. Despite four minutes of stoppage time, the visitors were unable to force a winner and the inaugural Europa League winners find themselves knocked out in the group stages.

Aris 2-0 Rosenborg

The home side took the lead in slightly controversial fashion on the stroke of half-time. The initial shot took a deflection and was tipped onto the crossbar by Rosenborg goalkeeper Daniel Orlund. However, he was unable to prevent Croatian striker Danijel Cesarec from slotting home the rebound into the empty net. Replays seemed to indicate however, that both Cesarec and Juan Toja were in offside positions.

The Norwegian champions weren't at their best but almost equalised through Mikael Dorsin's shot only to see the full-back denied by a stunning save from goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis. Aris then sealed their qualification for the last 32 with a late goal as Ricardo Faty lifted the ball over Swedish defender Mattias Bjarsmyr before smashing the ball into the back of the net.

Aris therefore pulled off a minor miracle by eliminating the holders Atletico Madrid and finishing in second place behind Leverkusen. Rosenborg bow out of the group stage with a mere three points from their six matches.


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