Celtic survived a second-leg onslaught to reach the Champions League group stage with a narrow aggregate play-off win over Hapoel Beer Sheva.
Beaten 2-0 in Israel, Brendan Rodgers’ side progressed on the strength of their 5-2 win in Glasgow last week.Celtic keeper Craig Gordon saved Maharan Radi’s penalty shortly before he was beaten by Ben Sahar’s header.Ovidiu Hoban capitalised on a mix-up between Gordon and Saidy Janko for Hapoel’s second goal.
Dundalk’s attempt to become the first Irish side to make the Champions League group stages fell just short as they lost 3-1 to Legia Warsaw on aggregate after a creditable 1-1 draw in Poland.Robbie Benson lit up an uneventful first half with a stunning sweetly-struck right-foot volley into the top corner from the edge of the area.The hosts had Adam Hlousek sent-off for a second yellow card on 67 minutes.Michal Kucharczyk equalised with a composed solo effort in added time.
A first Champions League campaign in five years was always out of reach for Villarreal on Tuesday night, as Monaco snatched a 1-0 victory at the Stade Louis II, earning the Ligue 1 outfit a 3-1 aggregate win.Whilst it took until the 89th minute for Fabinho to slam home the sealing goal for Leonardo Jardim’s side, the lack of bother inflicted upon the hosts at the other end gave the game a feeling of inevitability.Fran Escriba is now left to contemplate another campaign in the Europa League for the Yellow Submarine, who will drop into the group stage having made the semi-finals in 2015/16.
Italian side Roma failed to reach the Champions League group stage after having two men sent off in a 3-0 second-leg defeat by Porto.Roma were the favourites after drawing 1-1 in Portugal, but went behind when Felipe gave the visitors an early lead.They imploded as Daniele de Rossi and Emerson Palmieri were shown straight red cards either side of half-time.Miguel Layun slotted in Porto’s second, before Jesus Corona turned his marker to add the third moments later.
Roma are the third Serie A team in successive years to lose in the play-off round, leaving Juventus and Napoli to represent Italy in Thursday’s group-stage draw.
In the last game, Viktoria Plzen played out a 2-2 draw with Ludograts, a result which sees Ludograts qualify for the Champions league with a 4-2 aggregate win.