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Champions League Play-Off Stage Roundup

Manchester City had already all but confirmed their place in the Champions League group stage after their dominant 5-0 win against Steaua Bucharest last week but that was made official last night thanks to a 1-0 win at The Etihad, which saw them progress 6-0 on aggregate. Once again Joe Hart dominated the headlines as he made his first and quite possibly last appearance of the season for Manchester City. He has been told he no longer has a future at the club but will anyone come in for the England international before the end of the transfer window.

Thanks to their sizeable 1st leg advantage Pep Guardiola was afforded the luxury of resting key players and even a fringe City side was no match for the Romanians. Fabian Delph’s second half strike was enough to give City the win and they will no await Tonight’s draw

Elsewhere in Europe there were some sensational results last night. Ajax capitulated in Russia as they lost 4-1 to FC Rostov and will once again miss out on the Champions League. The Russian Premier League runners up breezed past their Dutch opponents and will be in the group stages for the first time.

In Germany Borussia Moenchengladbach booked their place after handing out a beating to Swiss side Young Boys, they won 6-1 on the night to progress 9-2 on aggregate.

Tuesday night saw Dundalk bravely bow out after only managing a draw against Legia Warsaw. After going ahead and halfing the 2-0 deficit from the first leg, there was a glimmer of hope when Legia went down to 10 men but in a search for that all important second, Legia managed to score late on to even matters on the night and send them through. Dundalk now will have the consolation of Europa League action this season.

While Celtic did their very best to throw away their 1st leg advantage against Hapoel Beer-Sheva, a tense night in Israel saw them having to hold on when 2-0 down and not concede a vital third. Thankfully Brendan Rodgers sides resolve held out just enough to record a 5-4 win on aggregate.

Here are the results in full:

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Champions Route
Ludogorets Razgrad Bulgaria 4–2 Czech Republic Viktoria Plzeň 2–0 2–2
Celtic Scotland 5–4 Israel Hapoel Be’er Sheva 5–2 0–2
Copenhagen Denmark 2–1 Cyprus APOEL 1–0 1–1
Dundalk Republic of Ireland 1–3 Poland Legia Warsaw 0–2 1–1
Dinamo Zagreb Croatia 3–2 Austria Red Bull Salzburg 1–1 2–1 (a.e.t.)
League Route
Steaua București Romania 0–6 England Manchester City 0–5 0–1
Porto Portugal 4–1 Italy Roma 1–1 3–0
Ajax Netherlands 2–5 Russia Rostov 1–1 1–4
Young Boys Switzerland 2–9 Germany Borussia Mönchengladbach 1–3 1–6
Villarreal Spain 1–3 France Monaco 1–2 0–1
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