Soccer

Dortmund shocks Malaga to reach Champions League semis

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Associated Press
4/9/2013 6:48:55 PM
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DORTMUND, Germany -- Borussia Dortmund completed a dramatic comeback Tuesday by scoring twice in stoppage time to defeat Malaga 3-2 and advance to the Champions League semifinals for the first time in 15 years.

Trailing 2-1 as three minutes of added time began, Dortmund equalized through Marco Reus but Malaga still held the advantage on the away goals rule.

That all changed, however, when Felipe Santana scored from what looked to be an offside position following a goal-mouth scramble in the last minute of play, setting off scenes of delirium among the local players, coaches and crowd.

"I think I need to see a doctor. It feels like we've won the trophy," Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said. "My assistants and me were looking at each other in shock in the dressing room and saying, 'This is crazy'. This is the best I've ever felt.

"The great games live in the memories because they are close. I'll never forget this game. Now it's in my memory. And that's good."

Dortmund defender Neven Subotic was almost lost for words.

"I just can't really believe it," he said. "This is the craziest moment in all of my footballing career."

Malaga owner Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani reacted angrily on Twitter, blaming his team's elimination on "racism."

The Qatari investor wrote that "this is not football, but racism and clear of all," and that he hopes "a thorough investigation" is held by UEFA regarding the Spanish club's exit.

Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini didn't echo his boss' claims of racism, but the normally cool and collected Chilean was scathing about the referee.

"After we went up 2-1, there was no refereeing," Pellegrini said. "They pushed us into our area with shoves and elbows. They had two players who should have been sent off, and two offside violations during the third goal that shouldn't have counted. We are leaving with a very bitter feeling."

Following a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the quarterfinals, Malaga led through Joaquin in the 25th minute with its first shot on goal. The Spaniard cut inside a defender and hit a left-footed shot through Subotic's legs and inside the corner of the net.

Robert Lewandowski pulled one back in the 40th but Dortmund still needed another goal to progress.

Instead, Malaga substitute Eliseu thought he had decided it in the 82nd with another goal that looked offside, only for Dortmund to complete its remarkable turnaround.

The German side, which surrendered its Bundesliga title to Bayern Munich on Saturday, remains the only unbeaten side left in the competition. Dortmund last reached the semifinals in 1998, the year after it won the title.

Under Pellegrini, Malaga was trying to become the first team to reach the semifinals in its first Champions League campaign since Villarreal in 2006, also coached by Pellegrini.

"We're still trying to come to terms with what happened," Malaga forward Roque Santa Cruz said. "We were four minutes away from the semis. There is huge disappointment in the dressing room. We had the tie in our hands."

Dortmund created numerous half-chances but failed to really threaten, with the impressive Martin Demichelis using all his experience to marshal the visitors' back line.

"Today we played our worst Champions League game to date. That's what you have to say," Klopp said.

The equalizer when it came was sublime. Mario Goetze dinked the ball over for Reus' first-time back-heel into the path of Lewandowski, and the Poland striker lifted the ball over the outrushing goalkeeper before slotting under pressure to the empty net.

Joaquin might have scored another before halftime but headed straight at goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller from a promising position.

Willy made two outstanding in the final 15 minutes, first to deny Reus from point blank, when the rebound flew just wide of the post, and then to foil Goetze when it seemed the Germany international had to score.

TV replays appeared to show Eliseu in front of Baptista when the Brazilian fired past Weidenfeller, but the goal stood after the Malaga substitute knocked in the goal-bound shot.

It looked like too little too late when Santana set up Reus to equalize, only for the Brazilian defender to follow up in fairytale fashion.

"If you look at the two games you have to say we deserved to progress. We needed luck, but we don't have the feeling that we don't deserve it," Klopp said. "You have to win games too on rainy days. Today it really lashed down on us. You need luck to win. That's part of it."

Felipe Santana and Neven Subotic  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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