UCL: RB Leipzig: 1 Beşiktaş: 2

Updated: December 7, 2017

Having already qualified as guaranteed group winners Beşiktaş had only honour and records to play for away at the Redbull Arena in Leipzig, but despite significant squad rotation the Black Eagles came away with yet another European victory.

Last season’s German Bundesliga runner-ups RB Leipzig still had all to play for as they still stood a chance to qualify for the final 16 of the UEFA Champions League, but their faith was no longer in their own hands. The Germans would have to beat Beşiktaş by any score but still needed Porto to drop points at home against the already eliminated AS Monaco.

Jeremain Lens put forward an impressive performance in his first Champions League start for Beşiktaş.

Porto had the head to head advantage on away goals and therefore all they had to do is finish off a Monaco side that had nothing left to play for, still the Portuguese league leaaders were hoping that the Black Eagles would fulfill their sportive duty and the Turkish champions duely delivered with another impressive European display and a solid 1-2 away victory in Germany.

Beşiktaş had taken the lead early in the first half following clumsy penalty foul from Willi Orban on Jeremain Lens, who’s pace dazzled the German defence. Álvaro Negredo stept up for his 6th goals in his last 3 matches and calmly converted the spotkick: 0-1 after 10 minutes.

Leipzig knew what they had to do now, score atleast twice and hope that Monaco could hold off the Portuguese onslaught at the Dragão, but news quickly came in that FC Porto had taken an early lead aswell.

The Germans tried to force their way through with deep through balls over the ground but the Beşiktaş defence and goalkeeper Tolga Zengin were up to the challenge. At the other end of the pitch you could feel that a second goal wasn’t too far off as Beşiktaş looked lethal on the counter with Jeremain Lens’ impressive pace being well utilized in the space that Leipzig left behind their defensive line.

Beşiktaş held their own in terms of possession and completed passes in the first half and even outweighed the Germans in proper attempts at goal as Leipzig found themselves caught offside again and again, the Germans even had a goal disallowed in the first half for offside, a correct decision by the referee.

The Black Eagles went in to halftime with a 1-0 lead away at the Redbull Arena.

In the absence of Pepe, Matej Mitrovic put in a solid performance and made several key interceptions and important tackles.

Beşiktaş were forced to make an early sub in the second half, with Adriano Correia comping on for an injured Necip Uysal. As Leipzig was running out of time the Germans piled on the pressure and stacked up their attempts at goal, but Tolga Zengin stood tall with an impressive 9 saves on the end of the night.

Leipzig’s Augustin scored another offside goal for the Germans and the officials, again, correctly ruled it out. As time ticked away Beşiktaş closed in on yet another impressive away victory, with chances to increase their lead. But Peter Gulacsi denied Jeremain Lens twice as he kept his team in the match.

After Stefan Ilsanker saw a second yellow card for pulling down Cenk Tosun at the halfway line, it seemed done and dusted for the Germans. But Naby Keita pulled Leipzig level with an impressive solo run and well placed finish: 1-1 after 87 minutes.

But Beşiktaş would not be sated with a point, with the extra space left by Ilsanker’s dismissal Beşiktaş continued to prod at the German defence and it didn’t take them too long to find that second goal: Orkan Çınar completed an impressive substitute appearance with an excellent assist as Anderson Talisca took away the final shred of hope for the homeside: 1-2 at the stroke of regulation playing time.

Leipzig knew they were beaten and Beşiktaş came close to a third goal on several occassions during the 4 minutes of added stoppage time, but Peter Gulacsi prevented a bigger home defeat. In the end Beşiktaş fulfilled their sportive duty and came away with their a perfect away record in their groupstage campaign, 3 wins out of 3 games.

With that win Beşiktaş total an impressive 14 points as they lead the charge headed in to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. Beşiktaş are also one of only 4 sides that have remained unbeaten during the groupstages and the first Turkish club to ever achieve said feat. (Tottenham, Liverpool and Barcelona are the other 3 undefeated teams remaining in the Champions League)

Stadium: Redbull Arena

Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN)

RB Leipzig XI: Peter Gulacsi; Willi Orban (71′ Marvin Compper), Lukas Klostermann, Stefan Ilsanker, Marcel Halstenberg (66′ Bernardo); Naby Keita, Diego Demme, Kevin Kampl (74′ Dominik Kaiser); Bruma, Timo Werner, Jean-Kevin Augustin

Reserves: Yvon Mvogo, Ibrahima Konate, Marvin Compper, Bernardo, Dominik Kaiser, Konrad Laimer, Yussuf Poulsen

Head coach: Ralph Hasenhüttl

Beşiktaş XI: Tolga Zengin; Necip Uysal (46′ Adriano Correia), Matej Mitrovic, Dusko Tosic, Caner Erkin; Gary Medel, Oğuzhan Özyakup, Anderson Talisca; Jeremain Lens, Álvaro Negredo (80′ Cenk Tosun), Mustafa Pektemek (69′ Orkan Çınar)

Reserves: Fabricio Ramirez, Ersin Destanoğlu, Adriano Correia, Fatih Aksoy, Alpay Çelebi, Orkan Çınar, Cenk Tosun

Head coach: Şenol Güneş

Goals: Álvaro Negredo (10′ pen.), Naby Keita (87′), Anderson Talisca (90′)

Yellow cards: Stefan Ilsanker (54′, 82′), Adriano Correia (76′), Jeremain Lens (79′), Oğuzhan özyakup (83′), Anderson Talisca (90′)

Red card: Stefan Ilsanker (82′)

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Kaan Bayazit

Editor-in-chief at Beşiktaş International
Freelance sports writer specialized in Turkish football and Beşiktaş. Co-host of the Black Eagles podcast. Frequently featured in World Soccer Digest Japan and many other international media outlets. Following Turkish football for close to two decades. Proud father to Aedin.
Kaan Bayazit
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