Wednesday Aug 28, 2019. 09:00
Morocco’s Youseff El Arabi was the star man on Tuesday night as Olympiakos, Crvena Zvezda and Dinamo Zagreb secured qualification for the group stage of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League.
El Arabi scored in the 11th and 48th minutes as his Greek side won 2-1 in Russia against Krasnodar, securing a 6-1 aggregate triumph overall to put themselves into Thursday’s group stage draw.
Joining them is Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb, who featured Nigerian Iyayi Believe Atiemwen as a substitute in their 1-1 draw away to Norway’s Rosenborg. The result – which also featured a goal from the hosts’ Nigerian forward Babajide Akintola – saw Dinamo advance 3-1 on aggregate.
The toughest tie was definitely between Serbia’s Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) and Swiss side Young Boys.
They played out a 1-1 draw (in a match featuring the African talent of Richmond Boakye for the hosts, as well as Roger Assale, Ngoumo Ngamaleu and Jean Nsame for the visitors) to see the tie end 3-3 overall.
However, Boakye will have the chance to feature in the group stage, as his side took the tie on away goals.
UEFA Champions League results, Tuesday 27 August
Aggregate score in parenthesis
Crvena Zvezda 1-1 Young Boys (3-3 – Crvena won on away goals)
Krasnodar 1-2 Olympiakos (1-6)
Rosenborg 1-1 Dinamo Zagreb (1-3)
Top African performers
Youseff El Arabi (Olympiakos) – The Moroccan scored both goals in Olympiakos’ 2-1 away win over Russia’s Krasnodar, securing a comfortable aggregate victory across the two ties for the Greek giants.
Babajide Akintola (Rosenborg) – Nigerian forward Babajide Akintola gave Rosenborg hope of a turnaround when he opened the scoring early on, but ultimately Dinamo Zagreb proved too strong over the two legs.
The playoff round wraps up on Wednesday night with three ties which appear to be in the balance. Club Brugge will back themselves to capitalise on a 1-0 lead when they host LASK, CFR Cluj take a 1-0 lead away to Slavia Prague and Eredivisie champions Ajax will host Cypriot giants APOEL with the aggregate score sitting at 0-0.
UEFA Champions League fixtures, Wednesday 28 August
Aggregate score in parenthesis
Slavia Prague v CFR Cluj (0-1)
Ajax v APOEL (0-0)
Club Brugge v LASK (1-0)
Top quotes heading into Wednesday night
“We want to write history with this group. Within the club, almost no one took this into account more than a month ago. We have been able to prepare well all week. We are 200 percent ready and feel no extra pressure.” – Club Brugge manager Philippe Clement.
“We are very ambitious and have to get back into the Champions League. But we know how difficult this is, not many Dutch teams have survived the playoff rounds. We know what we have to do and I have no doubt we shall succeed.” – Ajax manager Erik ten Hag.
– Kenyan star Victor Wanyama looks likely to sign for Club Brugge from English giants Tottenham Hotspur.
– Red Star Belgrade fans parked a tank outside their stadium for Tuesday night’s match against Young Boys.
– Real Madrid’s former director of football Pedja Mijatovic has said that he would like to see Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar at the Bernabeu.