AJ Auxerre gained a deserved 1-0 victory over BV Borussia Dortmund at the Stade Abbé Deschamps stadium to secure qualification for the UEFA Cup after fellow Group A rivals PSV Eindhoven could only draw at Arsenal FC.
An inspired substitution by Auxerre coach Guy Roux enabled the French side to overcome a weakened Dortmund side, as second-half arrival Benjani Mwaruwari finally broke the deadlock on 76 minutes.
Rosický on the bench
Dortmund were already guaranteed qualification to the second group stage of the competition and their starting lineup reflected that fact, with playmaker Tomáš Rosický and Brazilian striker Marcio Amoroso on the bench.
Cissé goes close
The opening period was played at a languid pace as both sides seemed content to play pretty patterns before giving up possession with the final pass. The first shot of the game came on 12 minutes when Djibril Cissé, returning to action after a three-month lay-off, drove an effort straight at Jens Lehmann in the Dortmund goal.
Auxerre came close to breaking the deadlock in the 14th minute when Johan Radet met an inswinging corner but the defender's flicked header was cleared off the line by Dede and the German champions almost escaped to set up a chance of their own on the counterattack.
The game continued to be played through the crowded midfield area and it was only when the ball was transferred to the flanks that either side looked capable of creating problems. Dortmund had to wait unitl the 35th minute to provide a real moment of panic in the Auxerre defence and that came from Torsten Frings' 20-metre drive which whistled just past Fabien Cool's post.
Both sides showed a lot more urgency in the second half and the arrival of Mwaruwari gave Auxerre more of a cutting edge in attack. The extra striker certainly took some of the pressure off Cissé and it was the France international who went close just after the break as he sent a volley over the crossbar.
Auxerre continued to pressure the visitors down the flanks and Khalilou Fadiga, in particular, was a constant threat. A mazy run to the edge of the area produced a free-kick but Mwaruwari pulled the resultant effort wide of the post.
The breakthrough, when it came, was more than deserved as Fadiga crossed to the edge of the area and Mwaruwari held off a weak challenge before hitting a low right-footed shot into the corner of the goal and beyond the stranded Lehmann.
Auxerre in the ascendency
Auxerre were in the ascendency for the remainder of the game, with Mwaruwari causing problems with his pace and power. Another run and jink inside the area almost produced a second goal and as time ran out Dortmund's forward movements became fewer and fewer.