Football Article

Big Clubs Exit UCL Race, Home Sides Progress

Big Clubs Exit UCL Race, Home Sides Progress Photo: TT
Molde's goalkeeper Andreas Linde, right, celebrates with teammates at the end the Champions League third qualifying round soccer match between between Molde and Quarabag FK

Norwegian champions Molde FK snapped the winning run of home teams in the one-off UEFA Champions League qualifiers on Wednesday, while Dinamo Zagreb, Red Star Belgrade and Young Boys were among the early casualties.

Molde FK defeated Azerbaijani champions Qarabag 6-5 on penalties after a 0-0 draw, although the match was played in neutral Larnaca due to travel restrictions.

The Norwegian champions will play Hungarian champions Ferencvaros in the play-off round across two legs for a spot in the Champions League group stage proper.

Ferencvaros got past Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 thanks to Myrto Uzuni’s 65th minute winner.

Red Star Belgrade were knocked out of the race for a spot in the group stage after a 4-2 penalty shootout loss to Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus.

Omonia’s win sets up a clash between the Cypriot and Greek champions, with Olympiacos waiting in the wings in the play-off round.

Danish champions FC Midtjylland eased into the play-off round with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Young Boys after three second-half goals.

Midtjylland will play Czech champions Slavia Prague in the play-off round, while Maccabi Tel Aviv edged Belarussian champions Dinamo Brest 1-0 to qualify for the next phase.

Maccabi will play Austrian powerhouse Red Bull Salzburg in the play-off round, with matches to be played on September 22-23 and September 29-30.

Europa League qualifying will continue on Thursday, with Rangers, Tottenham, Galatasaray and AC Milan among the big clubs in action.

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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