UCL: Valencia make Spanish history as they qualify for group stage

9460053806089_2861770209390Spain became the first nation to have five teams in the Champions League group stage in a single season after Valencia squeezed past Monaco 4-3 on aggregate in the play-off round despite a 2-1 defeat at the French side on Tuesday.

Valencia joined holders Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla, who gained an automatic berth as last season’s winners of the second-tier Europa League.

On a night of pulsating action, Malmo, Dinamo Zagreb, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Shakhtar Donetsk also booked money-spinning group stage spots in Europe’s premier club competition.

Former Manchester City forward Alvaro Negredo put Valencia in the driving seat with a deft fourth-minute chip but the Spaniards were forced to hang on after Andrea Raggi and Elderson revived Monaco’s hopes in the principality.

Swedish title holders Malmo advanced for a second successive season after Markus Rosenberg and a Dedryck Boyata own goal gave them a 2-0 home win over Celtic which a overturned a 3-2 first leg deficit over Celtic to overturn a 3-2 first-leg away deficit.

Former European Cup winners Celtic lost their lead after Rosenberg met a corner, the ball sliding in off his shoulder. Malmo missed several chances before Boyata’s desperate attempt to clear in a goalmouth scramble ended with the Celtic defender sliding the ball into his own net.

Croatians Dinamo qualified for the third time in the past five seasons, beating Skenderbeu 4-1 at home to complete a 6-2 overall victory over the Albanians.

Algeria striker El Arabi Hilal Soudani netted a fine brace, with Jeremy Taravel and Armin Hodzic also on the scoresheet for the Croatians.

A nervy 2-2 home draw with Rapid Vienna saw Shakhtar through after a 1-0 win in the first leg while Maccabi edged out Basel on away goals, a 1-1 home draw being just enough following last week’s 2-2 tie in Switzerland.

The top match of Wednesday’s action features Manchester United’s visit to Bruges, where the three-time winners will defend a 3-1 first leg advantage over the Belgians.

source: myjoyonline.com