Standard win, Hannover also through

R. Standard de Liège 2-0 Hannover 96
The Belgian hosts sealed top spot in Group B, but a draw elsewhere in the section means Hannover will join them in the round of 32.

Standard win, Hannover also through
Standard win, Hannover also through ©

R. Standard de Liège sealed top spot in Group B with a 2-0 victory over a Hannover 96 side who nevertheless join them in the UEFA Europa League knockout stage.

The hosts broke the deadlock on 26 minutes when Mohamed Tchite pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area and drilled in a fierce shot, giving goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler no chance. Gohi Bi Cyriac doubled the lead on the counterattack just before the hour to send the home crowd into raptures.

Standard almost forged ahead midway through the first half when Bia Mujangi fizzed a low centre across goal. None of his teammates were able to provide the decisive touch, but there was no repeat when a corner found its way to Tchite soon after.

His goal changed Hannover's game plan: playmaker Sergio Pinto had started deep in a four-man midfield but started to push forward, combining dangerously with Jan Schlaudraff. Indeed, the visitors came agonisingly close to an equaliser when Schlaudraff was played through with only Sinan Bolat to beat, but the goalkeeper palmed the ball away after an impressive dive to his left.

Cyriac carved out a couple of chances early in the second half and realised his growing threat when, after a swift break, he slid full-length at the far post to bundle in Mujangi's low shot from the edge of the box.

A Mohammed Abdellaoue header on 79 minutes was the closest the German side came to reducing the deficit, but the Norwegian's effort spun wide of Bolat's right-hand post. Substitute Didier Konan Ya had a volley comfortably saved.

Yet Hannover had some cause for cheer at full time as FC København's 1-1 draw 1-1 with FC Vorskla Poltava means they are destined to finish runners-up to Standard.