Copenhagen have ended their Champions League campaign on a high, securing a creditable 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund at Parken.
Both sides already knew their Group G fate, with Dortmund guaranteed to finish as runners-up to Manchester City and Copenhagen destined to finish bottom.
The home crowd were in a typically raucous mood, however, with the stadium rocking a full 40 minutes before kick-off and supporters unveiling a huge blue-and-white tifo as the match got underway.
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Copenhagen fed off the atmosphere in the first half, producing chance after chance. Mohamed Daramy got in behind early on and teed up Roony Bardghji for a belting header which Gregor Kobel did well to save, before Viktor Claesson set up Hakon Arnar Haraldsson to test the Dortmund goalkeeper once more.
Nonetheless, Dortmund took the lead after some excellent play from Felix Passlack out wide on the right. He tied Valdemar Lund in knots before lofting in a cross which evaded Anthony Modeste but fell nicely for Thorgan Hazard, who smashed a deflected shot through a crowd of Copenhagen defenders.
The hosts took the goal in their stride, immediately forcing Kobel into another fantastic save when Claesson wriggled through and loosed a shot from point-blank range.
They finally got the reward their enterprise deserved just before half-time, Claesson and Haraldsson playing a sweeping one-two which required the latter to make a lung-busting run into the box before lashing home.
At the break, Copenhagen had taken 11 shots to Dortmund’s three – with seven on target, to their opponents’ one – and looked the better side. They started the second half in a similarly lively fashion, Bardghji lining up a shot from distance which whistled just wide of the post.
Karim Adeyemi did much the same at the other end before carving out an opening for Donyell Malen with some lovely footwork, only for Malen to skew his shot horribly.
Dortmund’s attack looked much more dangerous after the introduction of Youssoufa Moukoko, who hit the base of the post with his first touch of the game. As the clock ticked down Moukoko played in Modeste, who smashed a shot into the stands from a promising position.
Dortmund required a crucial intervention from Niklas Sule, another substitute, to deny Haraldsson a tap-in late on and, all in all, Copenhagen can count themselves unlucky to end their European adventure without a win.
Copenhagen get their goal. Given how energetic they were going forwards against Dortmund, it was hard to believe that Copenhagen hadn’t scored in Group G before this. Despite hard-fought draws at home to Sevilla and Manchester City, they could have ended up as one of only a handful of sides – Maccabi Haifa in 2009-10, anyone? – to go through the entire group stage without finding the net.
No doubt the players will be relieved to have avoided that unwanted record. With so much youthful promise in the side – Bardghji, for instance, is still only 16 – they should have more to offer in seasons to come.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Hakon Arnar Haraldsson (Copenhagen). Another promising young player who, at 19, looks like an experienced pro, Haraldsson deserves credit for breaking Copenhagen’s duck.
Goal aside, his movement and energy underpinned Copenhagen’s attacking threat throughout the match. Were it not for Sule stealing in to intercept Orri Oskarsson’s pass, he would almost certainly have nabbed the winner.
Copenhagen: Grabara 6, Sorensen 7, Lund 4, Vavro 5, Diks 6, Claesson 7, Lerager 5, Clem 6, Daramy 7, Haraldsson 8, Bardghji 7
Subs: Kristiansen 6, Johannesson 5, Falk 6, Oskarsson 6, Jelert 5
Dortmund: Kobel 7, Passlack 7, Hummels 5, Schlotterbeck 5, Hazard 7, Can 5, Ozcan 5, Adeyemi 7, Malen 4, Reyna 5, Modeste 5
Subs: Meyer 6, Sule 7, Brandt 5, Moukoko 7, Coulibaly 6
8’ GREAT SAVE! Daramy gets in behind on the left and hangs a cross in the air. Bardghji gets on the end of it and powers a header goalwards, but Kobel pushes it round the post at full stretch.
23’ GOAL! Dortmund are ahead through Hazard, who smashes a deflected shot into the net from just outside the six-yard box. Passlack goes past Lund out wide before scooping a cross into the box. It evades Modeste, but Hazard ghosts in behind him, takes a touch and lashes in.
28’ ANOTHER MEGA SAVE! Christian Sorensen unlocks the door for Claesson with a clever pass inside the area. He wriggles in behind and shoots from point-blank range, but Kobel throws his body in the way.
41’ GOAL! Copenhagen are back on terms thanks to Haraldsson. He plays a one-two with Claesson on the edge of the area, making an industrious run to get on the end of the return pass and thunder a shot past the stranded Kobel.
49’ CLOSE! Bardghji has a go from long range and almost scores a screamer, sending a shot whistling just wide of the upright.
53’ HORRIBLE MISS! Adeyemi produces some lovely footwork out wide and leaves the hapless Lund stretched out on the turf. He tees up Malen just outside the six-yard box but, with the goal gaping, he manages to spoon a shot wide.
64’ OFF THE WOODWORK! With his first touch of the game, Moukoko hits the base of the post. Luckily for Copenhagen, the ball ricochets away harmlessly.
81’ LAST-DITCH DEFENDING! Oskarsson goes clean through on the right and almost sets up Haraldsson for a tap-in, only for Sule to step in and make a vital interception.
- Having gone in at half-time with one shot on target, Dortmund ended the match with the same tally.
- Copenhagen have never beaten Bundesliga opposition in a UEFA competition, this being their 12th attempt.
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