- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) - Borussia Dortmund beat Sporting 1-0 on Wednesday to advance to the knockout stage of the Champions League despite leaving top striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of the team.

Wearing a stylish coat and a fedora hat, Aubameyang watched from the stands and saw his backup, Adrian Ramos, score the only goal in the 12th minute of the Group F match.

Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel said Gabon striker Aubameyang was left out for “internal reasons,” adding that “internal is internal” and refusing to give details. Club chief Hans-Joachim Watzke also declined to give details but said Aubameyang would be back in action at the weekend.

“The decision came yesterday afternoon and now the matter is settled. He will be back at the weekend,” Tuchel said.

“He’ll be fresh and rested in Hamburg,” Watzke said.

Dortmund already was missing a half dozen players through injuries and was coming off three straight draws in the Bundesliga.

Aubameyang had scored a goal in each of the previous three group matches. But Ramos had three goals in six previous Champions League appearances that totaled 97 minutes.

The header from Ramos was enough to put Dortmund through to the round of 16. Dortmund now has 10 points from four matches in the group and leads Real Madrid, which surprisingly only drew 3-3 at Legia Warsaw and has eight points. Sporting has three and Legia one.

Sporting remained winless in Germany, with 12 losses in 13 matches. It also lost 2-1 to Dortmund at home two weeks ago.

Ramos scored from the first chance of the match, rising over Paulo Oliveira to connect with a cross from Matthias Ginter and send a looping header into the upper right corner.

Sporting’s Gelson Martins came close twice. After some neat passing, Martins broke into the box but goalkeeper Roman Buerke came off his line to foil the speedy forward. In his second attempt, Martins connected with a cross but Marc Bartra blocked his shot.

Christian Pulisic hit the crossbar for Dortmund after swapping passes with Mario Goetze and Raphael Guerreiro had a great opening but hit the side netting with the last shot of the first half.

Andre Schuerrle forced Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patricio into a diving save from a free kick in the second half, while Bryan Ruiz headed high from a good position in the Dortmund box.

“It was a very, very long match,” said Tuchel, who spent much of it screaming instructions to his players and gesticulating wildly.

“We couldn’t really control it, we lost possession too easily. Sporting played with courage and we tried different formations. But the main thing is we are through,” Tuchel said.

Aubameyang left the match a few minutes before the whistle.

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