Champions League Tuesday Play-off Results: Gladbach & Lille slip to surprise defeats - click here
|AEL claimed a shock 2-1 victory over Belgian giants Anderlecht in an intriguing first leg play-off encounter at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia.
Guillaume Gillet wasted the first chance of note after 15 minutes, after good work from former Liverpool striker Milan Jovanovic. Seconds later, the hosts were denied, after Edmar's shot was well blocked by Anderlecht's Silvio Proto.
With the Cypriot side aiming to emulate the heroics of APOEL Nicosia last season, they duly broke the deadlock on 34 minutes when Luciano Bebe's inswinging cross was met by the head of Dosa Junior, who directed the ball past the Belgian 'keeper.
The visitors responded with an equaliser and a moment of real quality. Kanu waltzed his way past a number of tackles before threading a pass towards Dieudonné Mbokani, who flicked up the ball and fired past the goalkeeper.
But AEL restored their advantage just 10 mintus later . Edmar negotiated his way past the back four, laying off Rui Miguel, whose angled shot hit the post and slowly creeped past the goalkeeper, despite the save.
Anderlecht's hopes of an equaliser were then dented after Jovanovic was sent off for a second yellow, as the hosts held on for victory, ahead of the second leg at Constant Vanden Stock next week.
IRONI KIRYAT SHMONA
|BATE Borisov claimed a comfortable 2-0 win over Israeli outfit Ironi Kiryat Shmona at the Dinamo Stadium in Minsk.
The Israelis, who are participating in only their second European competition and their first in the Champions League, were immediately on the back foot with Aliaksandr Hleb forcing Daniel Amos into save.
Dmitri Mozolevski spurned a good chance for the Belarusians, with Laszlo Lencse attempting a weak shot which proved comfortable enough for Andrei Gorbunov.
However, BATE's dominance wasn't to go unrewarded. Vitali Rodionov latched onto Mozolevski's pass to fire low into the bottom corner to hand the hosts a first-half lead.
The Israelis couldn't provide much of a threat attacking-wise, and were severely weakend when Dušan Matovic was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
BATE's second was inevitable, with Aleksandr Volodko opening up the defence with a straight through ball down the middle, as Rodionov claimed his second goal with a deft finish off the woodwork.
|Malaga moved closer to the Champions League group stage with a superb 2-0 victory over Greek side Panathinaikos.
The hosts dominated from the off, with Joaquin and Eliseu dictating the early phases of play amidst a delirious atmosphere inside the ground.
It was Los Boquerones who surge ahead with 17 minutes on the clock. Joaquin's free-kick was helped on by Wellgton, leaving Martin Demichelis to provide the decisive touch and fire in from close range.
The visitors were unable to deal with the Spaniards, and were duly punished with a second setback after 34 minutes. A slick one-two involving Enzo Maresca and Isco saw the latter pick out Eliseu, who wrong-footed the goalkeeper with a crisp volley for 2-0.
The tie could have been wrapped up in the opening minutes of the second -half ,when the impressive Isco curled a finish inches wide of the post. Teenage striker Fabrice then almost flicked an effort into the net after clipping a Jesus Gamez cross into the side-netting, much to the relief of the Greek side.
|Dinamo Zagreb took control of this play-off tie with a narrow 2-1 win against NK Maribor at Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb.
The hosts took the lead after just 10 minutes, in slightly fortuitous circumstances. An audacious long-range effort from Sammir deflected kindly into the path off Domagoj Vida and the right-back delivered a low cross which was turned in by Duje Cop.
Ante Cacic's men had further chances in the first half to extend their advantage, with Cop and Jerko Leko spurning opportunities to beat Jasmin Handanovič in the Maribor goal.
However, the Slovenian side, who are looking to progress to the group stage for the first time since beating Olympique Lyonnais at this stage in 1999, found themselves level before the end of the half.
A Goran Cvijanovic free-kick was unfortunately turned in by Dinamo captain Milan Badelj, past an unsuspecting Ivan Kelava to hand Darko Milanic's side the away goal advantage.
Nevertheless, the skipper redeemed himself in the second period, giving the hosts the lead. Cop's weighted pass found Badelj who burst past his marker to fire past Handanovic.
|The tie remains firmly in the balance after Braga and Udinese played out a hard fought 1-1 draw.
After a competitive start in Portugal, it was the hosts who carved out the better openings in the first- half. Paulo Vinicius brought out a smart stop from Zeljiko Brkic, as the Italians stepped up the ante, with Hugo Viana curling an unsuccessful attempt later through the period.
The deadlock was broken midway through the first-half. Antonio Di Natale's pin-point free-kick met the head of Dusan Basta, who diverted past Beto to hand the Zebrette a priceless away goal.
Jose Peseiro's side continued to test Francesco Guidolin's men, with left-back Ismaily inching his attempt just wide of Brkic's goal.
The hosts equalised in the 68th minute, with the leveller proving to be worth the wait. Ismaily picked up the ball from distance, before unleashing a 30 yard stunner in off the crossbar to restore parity.
Ruben Micael had an instant impact off the bench for the hosts, though his effort was well saved by Brkic, with Braga now requiring to score in the return leg at Friuli next Tuesday.