Celtic are now potentially 90 minutes away from the coveted Champions League group phase with a 1-0 win over Qarabag of Azerbaijan last night. An 82nd minute Deydrck Boyata header was the difference to give Celtic a slight advantage going into the return leg next week.
In the other matches of the “Champions Route” over the last couple of nights, the biggest names in at this stage all had comfortable matches with Basel of Switzerland bagging a 3-1 away win at Poland’s Lech Poznan, while Red Bull Salzburg have one foot in the group stages with a 2-0 home win over Malmo.
One name we are all going to have to get to grips with soon though is Skenderbeu of Albania who after beating Milsami Orhei of Romania 2-0 away last night are now just one game away from a remarkable qualification to the Champions League stages. Off the top of my head they would have to be one of the lowest ranked sides to ever reach the tournament proper.
In the “Champions Route” there were mixed fortunes for what you would consider Champions League regulars. Ajax gave up a 2-0 lead last night in Vienna after being pegged back by 10 men Rapid Wien. While Monaco showed their dominance over Young Boys of Berne with a 3-1 win, all goals came in the second half after admittedly was quite a drab first 45 minutes. Fenerbahce who have recently signed Nani and Robin Van Persie could only draw 0-0 with Shakhtar Donetsk in what now sets up an incredibly tight second leg next week.
Here are all the results in full:
|Team 1||Agg.||Team 2||1st leg||2nd leg|
|Lech Poznań||Basel||1–3||5 Aug|
|Milsami Orhei||Skënderbeu Korçë||0–2||5 Aug|
|Steaua București||Partizan||1–1||5 Aug|
|Maccabi Tel Aviv||Viktoria Plzeň||1–2||5 Aug|
|Dinamo Zagreb||Molde||1–1||4 Aug|
|Videoton||BATE Borisov||1–1||5 Aug|
|Red Bull Salzburg||Malmö FF||2–0||5 Aug|
|Panathinaikos||Club Brugge||2–1||5 Aug|
|Young Boys||Monaco||1–3||4 Aug|
|CSKA Moscow||Sparta Prague||2–2||5 Aug|
|Rapid Wien||Ajax||2–2||4 Aug|
|Fenerbahçe||Shakhtar Donetsk||0–0||5 Aug|