The first leg of the playoff round for the 2016/2017 was played on Tuesday and Wednesday. British clubs Manchester City and Celtic recorded a big win while the likes of Roma and Ajax still have all to play for in the second leg.
Tuesday saw Manchester City recorded a 5 – 0 win against steaua Bucharest in Romania with Sergio Aguero getting a hattrick. The Argentine also missed two penalties.
Few minutes after Florin Nita’s heroic save From Aguero’s spot kick, Manchester City took the lead. Raheem Sterling, the architect of the penalty, laid a nice pass onto the path of David Silva and the Spaniard coolly slot home.
Aguero stroked in his first goal in the 41st minute to make it 2-0. Nolito made it 3-0 before turning a provider for Aguero for the latter’s second. Aguero rounded up the victory as he received the ball with his back to goal. He turns and ran at the defence before slamming home to secure the match ball and ensure the tie is all but over in Romania.
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Over in Denmark, two league Champions locked on as Copenhagen, the Danish league Champion, battle for a win against APOEL. APOEL, Champions of the Cyprus league, left empty-handed as they could not find an answer to Andrija Pavlovic 43rd minutes strike. It could have been more but for Thomas Delaney missed opportunity in the dying minutes of the game. Copenhagen, however, will be happy with a clean sheet and the slender lead.
Red Bull Salzburg could only get a draw from their host, Dinamo Zagreb. The Champions of Austria took the lead in the 59th minutes. Valentino Lazaro’s header silence the home fans at the Stadion Maksimir before Dinamo Zagreb’s Marko Rog stepped up to convert a penalty in the 76 minutes. That goal means there is still all to play for in the second leg.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Rostov took a shock lead at Amsterdam against Ajax. The Russian team’s Christian Noboa slam home a sublime 20-metre free-kick in the 13th minute. Davy Klassen’s penalty in the 38th minute brought the Dutch giant back on level terms.b a draw is all they could muster though, as the debutants from Russia secure a massive draw heading into the second leg next week.
The last game on Tuesday took place in Switzerland as Young boys hosted German giants Borussia Monchengladbach at the Stade de Suisse in Bern. Monchengladbach settled to work immediately and they took the lead in the 11th minute. Raffael slot home after Thorgan Hazard’s fine run. The host press for an equaliser and they got one in the about ten minutes after halftime. Former Ajax striker, Miralem Sulejmani slots in Yoric Ravet’s cross from close range.
The parity did not last though as the visitors went in front again. Substitute Andre Hahn and alian Rochet’s own goal in the 67th and 69th minutes respectively secure a 3-1 win for Monchengladbach ahead of the second leg next week.
The action continued on Wednesday. Celtic played out a 5-2 thrilling win against Hapoel Be’er Sheva at Celtic park.
Brendan Rodgers’ men raced into a 3-goal lead in the first half. Tomas Rogic broke the deadlock in the 9th minute as he slot into an empty net. Leigh Griffiths extended the lead after he met a cross from James Forest in the 39th minute. Griffiths turned up again in added time of the first half as he slammed home a sumptuous free-kick from the right side of the penalty area.
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Hapoel came out in style in the second half. Lucio finished off a counter in the 55th minute and Melikson drove home another in the 57th minute to make it 3-2.
However, Shell-shocked Celtic garnered themselves to increase the lead again. Dembele heads home a Griffiths’cross in the 73rd minute and Scott Brown rattled home the fifth for Celtic in the 85th minute. 5-2 it finished at Celtic park.
Porto and Roma played out a 1-1 draw at the Estadio do Dragao in Portugal. A result that makes the return leg in Rome next week tantalizing.
Roma took the lead in the 36th minute when Porto defender mistakenly diverted a cross into his own goal.
About 40 minutes into his debut, Roma on-loan defender Thomas Vermaelen was sent off for a high foot challenge and the Italian club were reduced to 10 men.
Porto took advantage of the numerical deficiency when Adrien Silva coolly slot from the spot after Emerson was penalised for handball.
Monaco clinched a 2-1 victory away from home. The ligue 1 side edge the match at El madrigal against Villarreal.
Fabinho scored from the penalty spot after Alfred N’Diaye brought down Thomas Lemar 3 minutes into the match.
Villarreal were back on level terms through Alexander Pato in the 38th minute. The former AC Milan striker nodded home from close range after Monaco failed to clear their lines.
Bruno Silva restored his team lead with a powerful left shot in the 72 minutes after a fine run.
Polish team, Legia Warsaw defeated Irish minnows Dundalk 2-0 in the first leg of their playoff tie at the Aviva stadium in Dublin.
A penalty strike from Nemanja Nikolic in the 56 minutes and another goal from Aleksandar Prijovic deep into injury time makes it an uphill task for Dundalk in Poland next week.
Ludogorets Razgrad also secure a 2-0 win at their Vasil Levski National stadium in Sofia to put themselves in a comfortable position ahead of next week’s second leg in Czech Republic.
The Bulgarian club took the lead in the 51 minutes after Moti slot home from the spot. That lead was increased 13 minutes later when Virgil Misidjan direct Marcelinho’s pass into the net.
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