The curtain closes, but FCK bow out graciously
FC Copenhagen bid farewell to Europe after finishing fourth in their Champions League group
FC Copenhagen were knocked out of the Champions League last night, losing 0-2 at home to Real Madrid. The other game in the four-team group, Juventus away at Galatasary, was abandoned due to heavy snowfall, but its eventual result will not affect FCK’s final standing of last.
Madrid looked confident from the outset, and after 25 minutes, the Croatian playmaker Luka Modric put the visitors 1-0 ahead. The La Liga giants dominated possession from this point on, but it was the home side that came closest in the remainder of the half. A Thomas Delaney header was disallowed by the German referee, Felix Brych, after it was judged that the striker had fouled the Real goalkeeper.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who had not been involved in the first half, gave the visitors a 2-0 lead three minutes into the second half, becoming the first player to score nine goals in the group stage of the Champions League. Real then comfortably held on, with Gareth Bale missing from three yards in the 82nd minute.
FC Copenhagen finished bottom of a group in which they were labelled “the whipping boys” by ESPN back in September. But given that their only realistic rivals for third spot, Galatasaray, could afford to spend an estimated 46 million euros over the previous two seasons – and have players of the calibre of Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder – the Lions will probably feel reasonably satisfied with their four points, although a few regrets will persist over not holding onto their 1-0 lead at home to Juventus.
Meanwhile, FC Copenhagen’s under-19s advanced to the last 16 of the inaugural 2013-14 UEFA Youth League thanks to a 3-2 defeat of group leaders Real Madrid. They finished second in the group ahead of Galatasaray and Juventus and will now face a group winner in the knockout stage.