Sports

March 13, 2024

Dortmund reach Champions League quarter-finals after edging PSV

Dortmund reach Champions League quarter-finals after edging PSV

A third-minute goal from Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus’ late strike sent Borussia Dortmund through to the Champions League last eight with a 2-0 win on Wednesday, sealing a 3-1 aggregate victory.

Level at 1-1 after the last-16 first leg in the Netherlands, Sancho wasted no time in putting Dortmund ahead at the Westfalenstadion with a low shot from outside the area — his first Champions League goal since November 2021.

Dortmund were shaky despite the early lead and needed a fair share of luck and some poor PSV finishing to progress, with Hirving Lozano’s 53rd-minute effort hitting the post.

PSV pushed forwards in stoppage time looking for an equaliser but instead gave away another goal, as Isaac Babadi’s unfortunate slip allowed Reus to seal the win.

The 1997 winners did enough against an outclassed PSV but will face stiffer challenges as they return to the quarter-final draw, to be held on Friday, for the first time since 2021.

Dortmund, 20 points behind Xabi Alonso’s unbeaten leaders Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga and out of the German Cup, came into the game knowing the Champions League was their only hope of lifting silverware this season.

Despite their poor domestic campaign, Dortmund have impressed in Europe, emerging first from a group featuring Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Newcastle.

PSV are unbeaten in the Eredivisie and cantering towards their first league title since 2018.

Having said on Saturday he “expects more from himself” after scoring his first goal since returning to Germany on loan from Manchester United in January, Sancho opened the scoring before the smoke of the pre-game flares had cleared.

The out-of-favour England winger made the most of PSV’s failure to clear a bouncing ball in the box, collecting Julian Brandt’s lay-off and picking out the bottom corner via the inside of the post.

That goal put the wind in the hosts’ sails, with Brandt and former PSV winger Donyell Malen denied by a brilliant double save from visiting goalkeeper Walter Benitez.

Malen went close again before the interval, twice firing wide when he should have at least hit the target.

The visitors were much improved after the break. Lozano, introduced at half-time, hit the post with a long-range effort.

PSV upped the ante but were let down by their wastefulness in front of goal, with Luuk de Jong heading over two good chances.

Substituted to applause with what looked like a thigh injury, Sancho was replaced by Reus with 15 minutes remaining.

The Dortmund veteran looked to have laid on the crucial second goal for Niclas Fuellkrug two minutes later against the run of play with a sublime cross from a free-kick, but the striker’s volley was ruled out by VAR for the narrowest of offsides.

PSV’s best opportunity to force extra time fell to De Jong in the fourth minute of added time, but the Dutch striker blazed over unmarked from only 10 yards out.

Reus quickly made him pay, racing onto a loose ball and slotting calmly past Benitez to spark wild home celebrations.