30 teams took part in midweek action over the past couple of nights as the quest to reach the Champions League proper picks up a pace. This phase of the lengthy competition takes two routes as we see both the Champions Route and the League Route. 20 teams take place in the Champions phase and 10 in the League and it was in the latter in which the pick of the ties took place as Nice and Ajax went head to head at the Allianz Rivera.
Who else but Mario Balotelli put the head side in front late in the first half after neat build up which left the Ajax defence all at see but for all their pressure they failed to get a second goal and where then suitably punished when Donny Van De Beek nestled home just minutes after the restart to give the Dutch side the vital away goal going into next week’s return.
Here is the pick of the action.
Dynamo Kiev made easy work of Young Boys and take a two goal advantage to Switzerland although after conceding an away goal it is perhaps not all over while Club Brugge and Istanbul Basaksehir shared a six goal thriller as the Turkish outfit make their debut in this competition.
Meanwhile in the Champions Route, Brendan Rodgers Celtic side laboured to a 0-0 draw at home to Rosenborg, it was very much a tepid encounter as the Scottish treble winners lacked any real focal point in attack and it certainly showed in a game that had the air of a pre-season fixture, although there was much more at stake. Rosenborg were arguably the more attacking but failed to put to bed any chances they had and it is all to play for when the two teams meet again in Norway.
Conquerors of The New Saints, Rijeka of Croatia picked up a well earned draw against Red Bull Salzburg and will arguably be the favourites going into the second leg of what will be a neatly poised tie. While usual faces BATE Borisov and Ludogorets have it all to do after first leg defeats to Slavia Prague and Hapoel Be’er Sheva
Here is a recap of all the results from the past two nights
|Team 1||Agg.||Team 2||1st leg||2nd leg|
|Slavia Prague||BATE Borisov||1–0||2 Aug|
|Astana||Legia Warsaw||3–1||2 Aug|
|Hapoel Be’er Sheva||Ludogorets Razgrad||2–0||2 Aug|
|Viitorul Constanța||APOEL||1–0||2 Aug|
|Red Bull Salzburg||Rijeka||1–1||2 Aug|
|Qarabağ||Sheriff Tiraspol||0–0||1 Aug|
|Steaua București||Viktoria Plzeň||2–2||2 Aug|
|Dynamo Kyiv||Young Boys||3–1||2 Aug|
|AEK Athens||CSKA Moscow||0–2||2 Aug|
|Club Brugge||İstanbul Başakşehir||3–3||2 Aug|