Top teams through in Champions League playoffs
Swiss champions FC Basel, conquerors of Manchester United last season, survived a last-ditch penalty miss to scrape into the Champions League playoffs on Wednesday while AEL Limassol stunned Partizan Belgrade.
Basel managed a 1-1 draw at home to Molde, qualifying 2-1 on aggregate, after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Norwegian champions missed a penalty in the second minute of stoppage time which would have sent them through
Magne Hoseth’s effort was saved by Yann Sommer in the third qualifying round, second leg tie. Earlier, Jo Inge Berget had given Molde a first-half lead against nervy Basel who levelled through David Degen with 15 minutes left.
AEL Limassol’s attempt to emulate fellow Cypriots APOEL Nicosia, who last year made the quarter-finals, continued as a 1-0 win at Partizan Belgrade gave them a 2-0 aggregate victory.
Dosa Junior scored the winner for Limassol’s cosmopolitan lineup, which included players from Angola, Portugal, Brazil, France, Argentina, Ivory Coast and one from Cyprus itself.
Former Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt got two late goals and ex-Lille forward Moussa Sow scored in added time as Fenerbahce won 4-1 at Romania’s Vaslui to progress 5-2 on aggregate.
Caner Erkin opened the scoring for Fenerbahce and Marius Nikulae replied for Vaslui in a clash between two non-champion teams.
Second half goals by Joe Ledley and Giorgos Samaras gave Scottish champions Celtic, the 1967 winners, a 2-0 victory at HJK Helsinki for a 4-1 aggregate success despite Victor Wanyama being sent off for a second bookable offence after the break.
Christian Bolanos and Cesar Santin scored in the last 15 minutes to give FC Copenhagen a 3-2 win at 1978 runners-up Bruges which took them through and Thomas Sorum’s hat-trick gave Helsingborg a 3-1 win over Poland’s Slask Wroclaw.
The Swedish champions qualified 6-1 on aggregate.
Luxemburg champions F91 Dudelange’s dream run ended with a 1-0 defeat at home to Maribor. Dudelange, beaten 5-1 on aggregate, had knocked out Salzburg in the previous round.