Valencia 1-1 Dortmund (UCL Group G Match 5)

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BVB ensured that their Champions League destiny is in their own hands with a hard-fought point at the imposing Mestalla with a 1-1 draw against a Valencia side who finished the game with ten men.

Changing to a diamond in midfield behind two strikers to combat the Spaniards’ flat 4-4-2 formation, Surman made three changes in bringing in Andreas Beck and Robert Lewandowski, with Dennis Praet replacing the suspended Lars Bender.

The initial game-plan was thrown into disarray early-on when Sven Bender was injured inside the opening five minutes, having his knee turned sharply by a strong challenge, needing to be replaced by Kevin Großkreutz in only his second appearance of the season.

Save for a spell of three cautions in as many minutes from the French referee midway through the half, the first period was passing without much incident until Neven Subotic was harshly adjudged to have tripped Victor Ruiz at a Valencia corner. Up stepped Andreas Granqvist, to be denied by Roman Weidenfeller from the spot.

Parity at the break lasted at twenty seconds after it when Andrés Guardado, on as a substitute at the interval, turned home at the far post from a Pereira cross. Valencia’s ill-discipline kicked back-in afterwards as Dortmund counter-attacks were stopped by any means necessary. Mohamed Sissoko paid the ultimate price for it, picking up two cautions in quick succession.

Within five minutes of the dismissal, Großkreutz squared a ball from the right after a great run into the box. Any one of three Dortmund men could have tucked it home, but it was top-scorer Stevan Jovetic who got the touch at the far post to stroke it past Diego Alves.

Dennis Praet came close with a pair of free-kicks, and with Mats Hummels in brilliant form at the other end, the points were shared. In Liège, Standard beat Legia 3-0 which means that Valencia have all but wrapped-up top spot. A draw in Dortmund next week between BVB and Standard will see the holders through, with Standard going through instead with an away win.

 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: GROUP STAGE (5/6)
     E               Arsenal  4-0  Twente
     E        Young Boys BSC  1-1  Olympiakos
     F     Manchester United  5-2  Sporting Clube
     F   Paris Saint-Germain  5-0  Shamrock Rovers
     G        Standard Liege  3-0  Legia Warsaw
     G              Valencia  1-1  Borussia Dortmund
     H             Barcelona  5-0  Monaco
     H              Juventus  6-0  Rubin Kazan

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Welcome to the magnificent Mestalla Stadium in eastern Spain, where the top two sides in Group G meet again after their 1-1 draw back in Dortmund ten weeks ago.

Three changes for the visitors who have gone for a diamond in midfield behind two strikers. In comes Andreas Beck at right-back, with Dennis Praet replacing the suspended Lars Bender in the centre of the park, and Robert Lewandowski joins Jovetic up front.

[00] Dortmund get us underway!

[02] Timo Costa bundles Dennis Praet off the ball 25 yards from goal, dead central. Praet will take the free-kick himself. He whips it up and over the wall, Diego Alves is rooted to the spot but it drops a yard wide.

[03] Sergio Canales has flown into a challenge on Sven Bender, and the Dortmund man has stayed down in agony. Physios rush on as the ball is knocked out of play.

[04] Enforced change for the visitors: Kevin Großkreutz replaces Bender, who’s clutching his knee in some distress.

[08] Dortmund win the first corner as Victor Ruiz heads behind a ball aimed towards Jovetic. Praet has two attempts to whip a cross in, but Mathieu clears both with a strong header and then a strong challenge. The hosts not holding back in the tackle today.

[13] Marcel Schmelzer gets a talking to from the French referee after he clatters through Feghouli.

[17] Corner for Valencia as a Dortmund attack is countered. Costa does the legwork, but Hummels gets back to make a challenge and deflect it behind. Hummels clears the header befoer Großkreutz blocks Canales’ follow-up.

[17] BVB break with Großkreutz and win a corner at the other end, but it comes to nothing.

[21] Timo Costa heads over the top from 15 yards out.

[21] End-to-end stuff here! Diego Alves comes to meet Jovetic in a one-on-one, managing to tip the ball away from goal, and Robert Lewandowski stretches to poke the loose ball towards goal but Granqvist is on hand to hack it off the line.

[22] Dennis Praet skims the bar with a 22-yard free-kick after another foul from Costa.

[25] First caution of the match is for Jérémy Mathieu as he holds back Andreas Beck after the Dortmund defender wins the ball from him.

[26] Tino Costa promptly joins him in the book as he barges Praet off the ball, not for the first time tonight.

[29] Third yellow card in four minutes, this one is for Andreas Beck who is strong in a challenge on Kadlec.

[30] Réginal Goreux has put Standard in front at home to Legia. Here in Spain, Dortmund win a corner on a counter attack as Lewandowski crosses. Alves claims from Praet’s delivery before a wild effort from Jovetic sails wide.

[34] Brilliant near post save from Roman Weidenfeller as Roberto Soldado ghosts in between the Dortmund centre-backs and collects Pereira’s ball into the box before unleashing a half-volley at goal.

[40] Another corner for Valencia as Schmelzer challenges Pereira. Game just starting to calm down a little. There have been a couple of long distance effort from both sides, but nothing to report on.

[41] PENALTY! The French referee has pointed to the spot as Costa sends the corner deep to the back post. Neven Subotic and Victor Ruiz come together and the Dortmund defender is adjudged to have tripped his man. That seems harsh.

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[42] SAVED! Andreas Granqvist steps up but Roman Weidenfeller guesses left, and guesses right, pushing it away right by the post.

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[43] Soldado is behind the back four and smashes an effort underneath the diving Weidenfeller that clips the outside of the woodwork, but the flag’s up.

[45] Two additional minutes.

HALF-TIME: Valencia CF 1-1 Borussia Dortmund (UCL Group G)

[HT] Change at the break for Valencia as Andrés Guardado replaces Sergio Canales.

[46] VALENCIA 1-0 DORTMUND: There’s just twenty seconds between Valencia kicking-off the second half and substitute Andrés Guardado turning home Pereira’s cross at the far post. Kadlec had a delivery blocked by Hummels but Pereira’s ball back in is slotted home.

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[50] Corner to the hosts who have come out flying. A long through into the box is put behinjd by Hummels. Elsewhere in the group, Standard have doubled their lead against Legia Warsaw through Mikhail Sivakov.

[52] Schmelzer intercepts a Sissoko ball and BVB are on the counter. Lewandowski finds Götze who slips it behind the back four for Jovetic, but he takes a shot early going for the top corner but it drops over the top.

[53] Corner for Dortmund as Alves denies Jovetic from distance.

[58] Andreas Granqvist is booked after a cynical trip on Großkreutz with Dortmund on the counter. Valencia get the go-ahead to make their second change, and it’s Granqvist (6.9) who is replaced with Adil Rami.

[61] Feghouli wins a corner off Schmelzer, but Dortmund clear it away and try the break, but Sissoko stops Lewandowski in his tracks.

[63] Yellow card for Mohamed Sissoko after two challenges fly in on Götze by Pereira before Sissoko leaves Praet on the deck. Alves saves from Praet’s free-kick.

[64] Sissoko could be in big trouble here as he has a tug at Lewandowski’s shirt with the striker breaking over halfway. Stéphane Lennoy reaches for his pocket and shows a second yellow card to Mohamed Sissoko and Valencia are reduced to ten men.

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[65] Lewandowski tries to lob Alves from 30 yards but gets it all wrong. Alves way off his line as he came to intercept a through-ball for Jovetic.

[68] VALENCIA 1-1 DORTMUND: The visitors make the man advantage count within five minutes of the sending-off. Andreas Beck plays it up the right for Kevin Großkreutz who beats his man before sending a perfect ball across goal for Stevan Jovetic to slot home from eight yards out.

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[68] Final change for Valencia as Matias Schelotto comes on for Feghouli (6.9).

[71] Rami has gone into the book after a hard challenge on Jovetic, earning Valencia a UEFA fine for having five players cautioned in the same match.

[72] Standard have wrapped-up the win at gome to the Polish champions with Danie Opare scoring their third goal against Legia Warsaw. Standard will move to seven points. Dortmund currently in line to finish the evening with eight meaning a draw next week against Standard will see them through.

[81] Mats Hummels makes what could be a match-saving challenge on Soldado inside the six-yard box. Great work down the right by Pereira to get the ball across goal, which Weidenfeller lets slip through his grasp before Hummels robs SOldado of a tap-in.

[85] Efforts at both ends, with Costa, Soldado, Lewandowski, Jovetic all firing wide from outside the area in the last five minutes.

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FULL-TIME: Valencia CF 1-1 Borussia Dortmund (UCL Group G) [PKM]

Hard-fought and well-won point at the group leaders keeps Dortmund’s destiny in their own hands. By avoiding defeat at home to Standard next Wednesday, they’ll be safely through to the last sixteen though it will take a collapse by Valencia in Poland to turn around the goal difference to progress as Group G winners.

Next up for the treble-winners is the visit of Bayern Munich on Saturday, the second of six matches in seventeen days. Sven Bender looks unlikely to be available for the rest of the calendar year, with initial scans showing ligament damage to his knee after the strong challenge early-on tonight. BVB’s medical staff estimate he’ll be sidelined for 6-7 weeks. Andreas Beck is also a doubt for the weekend after suffering a dead leg late-on.

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