Schmelzer's Late Strike Sees Dortmund Through to Europa League Last 16

Borussia Dortmund edged Atalanta after a late error allowed for Marcel Schmelzer to score the decisive goal.
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A late goal from Marcel Schmelzer secured Borussia Dortmund's passage into the last 16 of the Europa League after a thrilling 1-1 draw against Atalanta on Thursday night. 

An early Rafael Toloi strike looked like sending Atalanta through, but a late goal from the returning Schmelzer means that Dortmund progress into the next round of the competition.

The home side started the brighter of the two, and it was them who opened the scoring. In the 10th minute, dangerman Alejandro Gomez whipped in a corner and after Dortmund goalkeeper Burki failed with his punch, the ball fell for Toloi at the back post and the defender tapped the ball home to give the Atalanta the lead - yet another shocking error from Burki.

Dortmund looked shaken, and they should have gone two down just minutes later, as Gomez chipped the ball beautifully over the Dortmund back-line to the on-running Bryan Cristante, but the 22-year-old just missed the target with his close range effort.

The away side couldn't get a foot-hold in the first half, with Atalanta dominating the midfield. Dortmund did have the ball in the back of the net before the half-time break, but unfortunately for die Schwarzgelben Mario Gotze, the scorer, was ruled offside.

Dortmund brought Marco Reus on early in the second half with the hopes of getting an equalizer, however even with the German superstar on the pitch the Bundesliga giants found it difficult to break down the Atalanta backline. 

As Dortmund pushed on they left themselves exposed, and they should have been punished for their lack of cover at the back. Cristante broke away and he found Gomez free inside the box with only the keeper to beat, but the Argentine was denied by the a brave safe from Burki.

The away kept pushing for the equalizer and with ten minutes remaining they finally had their goal. After a great work from Reus the German released his shot, and after a series of deflections the ball fell to the returned Schmelzer who smashed the ball home.

Dortmund held on to win the game and will go into Friday's last 16 draw confident of progressing further.