The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Leverkusen beats Real Sociedad 1-0 to reach last 16 of Champions League from Group A
SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain - Bayer Leverkusen beat Real Sociedad 1-0 on Tuesday to reach the last 16 of the Champions League along with Group A winner Manchester United.
United's 1-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk ensured the English champions finished top with 14 points, allowing Leverkusen to overtake Shakhtar and take second place with 10 points.
The Germans were more determined than their Spanish hosts at the Anoeta Stadium, and their unrelenting pressure to score finally paid off early in the second half.
Leverkusen finally took advantage of Real's poor defending on set plays in the 49th minute when Omer Toprak slammed home a loose ball from a corner that Real failed to clear.
Real goalkeeper Enaut Zubikarai kept the Spanish league club in the contest with a number of saves. And when he missed, the woodwork came to the rescue to deny Gonzalo Castro and Robbie Kruse.
Antoine Griezmann was Sociedad's lone striker, with the Frenchman looking to capitalize on the counter without success.
Shakhtar will play in the Europa League, while Sociedad finished last in the group with one point and without a victory or a goal scored at its home ground.
"This experience will serve the team, it will help us build as a team," Real coach Jagoba Arrasate said. "We started group play poorly, but there are positive things to take from the competition like how we measure up and what we need to do to improve."
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