HNK Rijeka and Vitória SC could not be separated in Croatia but results elsewhere in Group I condemned both to an early UEFA Europa League exit.
Needing a win to keep their hopes alive, the hosts showed more going forward but neither side possessed the required cutting edge to break the deadlock. The result cost both dear as Olympique Lyonnais' 1-0 success against Real Betis Balompié ensures it is those two clubs who head into the round of 32.
Out for revenge after their 4-0 mauling in Portugal on matchday one, Rijeka started with purpose and might have gone ahead in the 13th minute when Mehmed Alispahić sent a looping effort at goal from 25 metres which crashed against the bar. The teams then proceeded to exchange chances as André Santos blasted over the home bar before Leon Benko saw his header prevented from crossing the line by the legs of Guimarães keeper Douglas in the best opening of the first period.
Knowing only three points could save them, Matjaž Kek's men tried to up the ante after the interval. Benko's curling free-kick was well saved before the forward fired wide after showing impressive strength to hold off two Vitória defenders as he chased a long ball. The same man then wasted the game's outstanding opportunity after being sent clean through with eight minutes left, only to be denied by Douglas. The duo's inability to convert would cost them when Lyon grabbed the winner against Betis to sew up the qualification spots.
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