CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Playoffs second-leg update




Roman Kienast scored the vital goal just a minute after coming on to secure a first-ever group stage appearance for Nenad Bjelica’s men. The Austrian side had to survive an almighty scare but in the end Vienna created a small piece of history as Kienast’s goal gave his side the aggregate victory despite defeat on the night against GNK Dinamo Zagreb.


FC Basel sealed their group stage place easing themselves to a 2-0 victory against Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgrad. Already leading 4-2 from the first leg, the Swiss champions all but confirmed their place in the next phase when Fabian Frei headed in after 11 minutes. The rout was complete when Philipp Degen pouncing to a 6-2 aggregate success.

LEGIA WARSAW 2-2 STEAUA BUCHAREST (3-3 on agg – Steaua win on away goals)

Steaua Bucharest booked their place in the group stages for the first time since the 2008/09 season as a 2-2 draw in Poland ensured they edged out Legia Warsaw on the away goals rule. After a draw in Romania last week, early goals in quick succession from Nicolae Stanciu and Federico Piovaccari at the Stadion Wojska Polskiego swung the tie decisively in Steaua’s favour. Jan Urban’s hosts replied through Miroslav Radović and Jakub Rzeźniczak but were unable to complete a comeback.

PAOK SALONIKA 2-3 SCHALKE 04 (3-4 on agg)

Schalke 04 made it through to the  group stage after surviving a major scare against Greek side PAOK Salonika. PAOK, under the charge of former Schalke coach Huub Stevens, were hopeful of reaching the competition for the first time following last week’s 1-1 first-leg draw in Germany. Though they went behind to Ádám Szalai’s opener, Stefanos Athanasiadis’s equaliser and the dismissal of Jermaine Jones looked to have put them in the ascendancy. However, Julian Draxler and Szalai struck either side of Kostas Katsouranis to earn the Bundesliga side a 4-3 aggregate victory.

ARSENAL 2-0 FENERBAHÇE (5-0 on agg)

A pair of Aaron Ramsey strikes ensured that Arsenal completed their task against Turkish opponents Fenerbahçe with no difficulty. Having already lead the two-legged tie 3-0 in Istanbul, the Gunners had an obvious confidence about them and they added to their aggregate lead through the Welshman, Ramsey after 25 minutes. After the interval, another Ramsey effort sent to Fenerbache down into Friday’s Europa League draw.



Boateng double helps Milan power past PSV


A Carlos Vela double sealed Real Sociedad progress with the Basque club completing a 4-0 aggregate play-off win against Ligue side Lyon. The Spaniards were in a commanding position with a 2-0 first-leg victory and Jagoba Arrasate’s side were never in danger of being denied a place among Europe’s elite for the second time. Sociedad went ahead when Vela headed in a 67th-minute corner, and the Mexican grabbed a second with a superb individual effort in added time.


Russian side Zenit comfortably defeated of Portuguese debutants Paços de Ferreira with a 8-3 aggregate score. Danny was the architect of the Portuguese side’s downfall with a wonderful individual display. The playmaker scoring two excellent goals, one in each half. A further strike from Aleksandr Bukharov made it 3-0 on the night and the goals kept coming in front of a boisterous home crowd as Manuel José and Carlão struck either side of an Andrey Arshavin penalty. Eventually Zenit emerged with a 4-2 victory.


Czech side Viktoria Plzeň ensured their place in the group stage for just the second time with a 1-0 away win at NK Maribor. Already holding a 3-1 first-leg lead, the Czechs wasted no time in increasing it with Stanislav Tecl scoring after three minutes. The Slovenians did their best to beat visiting goalkeeper Matúš Kozáčik but could find no way back into the tie and must take the consolation of a Europa League place having fallen at the play-off stage for the second successive season.

AC MILAN 3-0 PSV (4-1 on agg)

Kevin-Prince Boateng and Mario Balotelli ensured that Serie A giants AC Milan overcame PSV Eindhoven with a 4-1 aggregate win. The Eredivisie side had their fair share of opportunities at San Siro but Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati made a series of good saves before and after Boateng’s opener until Balotelli scored a second for the Rossoneri early in the second half. Any hopes of a comeback vanished for Phillip Cocu’s youthful side when Boateng added another with 13 minutes remanining following a nice team move.



Celtic overturned the 2-0 first leg deficit from last week in Kazakhstan to book their place in the group stage for the second year running.

Celtic as expected started on the attack as they needed to, in order to progress, they threatened through Mikael Lustig early-on but the Swede’s header was brilliantly turned over by Mokin, Celtic continued to press looking to find their way back into the tie, Forrest then saw his shot from the edge of the area tipped over by Mokin again, not long after Celtic captain Scott Brown was lucky to stay on the park when he stamped on Vicius, this was missed by the referee. Commons was next to go close but saw his cheeky near post free-kick very well saved by Mokin, just as it looked like it was going to be all-square at the interval, Commons popped up with a 25-yard pile driver beyond Mokin to give the home side the lead.

Celtic got the leveller on the night and the goal to level the tie just minutes into the second-half Lustig had a shot which was deflected through to Samaras, the Greek striker kept his cool to calmly side-foot past Mokin. Shakhter had a few efforts themselves, a Vicius long-throw caused havoc in the box only for Khizhnichenko to see his effort come back off the top of Forster’s crossbar, and Lennon in the dugout was very much relieved. Stokes could have put Celtic in front but somehow managed to hit the crossbar from about five yards out. The visitors had the ball cleared off the line by Matthews when it looked as if Vasiljevic was about to head the away goal. As the game looked to be heading for extra-time Stokes beat two defenders before playing the ball into the path of Forrest who seen his shot hit the underside of the bar and go in, to send the fans and Lennon into a state of delirium and win the tie 3-2 on aggregate.




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