Champions League round-up: Joy for Shakhtar as Sheriff secure spot
A night of drama in the Champions League play-off round saw Shakhtar Donetsk beat Monaco in an extra-time thriller.
Elsewhere, Sheriff Tiraspol are set to make their debut in the competition after a comfortable night against Dinamo Zagreb, while Red Bull Salzburg’s fast start saw them through at Brondby.
Here is all the key information about how this evening’s ties unfolded.
Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 Monaco (Shakhtar Donetsk win 3-2 on aggregate AET)
Wissam Ben Yedder’s first-half brace looked to have set Monaco on their way to the group stage but Shakhtar late rally left the French side facing Europa League football this season.
An impressive first-half display saw ASM’s captain fire home from close range in the 18th minute, before repeating the trick 21 minutes later.
That gave the Monegasques a 2-1 aggregate advantage but Shakhtar’s Brazilian midfielder Marlos finished a neat passing move in the second half to take the game to extra-time.
Elimination ultimately arrived in the cruelest manner for Monaco as Mykhaylo Mudryk’s pass clipped the ankle of Ruben Aguilar and flew over goalkeeper Alexander Nubel — sending the French side out of the competition on the back of an own-goal.
Brondby 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg (Red Bull Salzburg win 4-2 on aggregate)
Things were more straightforward for Red Bull Salzburg, who raced into an early lead in Denmark and never looked back.
A sublime finish from Benjamin Sesko opened the scoring after just four minutes before Brenden Aaronson put Die Roten Bullen 2-0 up with only 10 minutes on the clock.
That made the score 4-1 on aggregate in favour of the Austrian outfit and meant a Brondby comeback was highly unlikely.
Nonetheless, the home team did pull one back — via a towering header from Andreas Maxso just after the hour mark — but it was too little, too late for Niels Frederiksen’s men.
Dinamo Zagreb 0-0 Sheriff Tiraspol (Sheriff Tiraspol win 3-0 on aggregate)
There is a new Sheriff in town — Tiraspol have qualified for the group stage of the Champions League for the first time in their history.
The Moldovan upstarts — the first team ever to represent their country at this stage — set themselves up nicely for this clash after comfortably beating Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 on home soil in the first leg.
A tough test was still expected in the Croatian capital, but the Citizens could not lay a glove on Sheriff, who were able to keep a commendable clean sheet in Zagreb.
There will be plenty of anticipation in Tiraspol tomorrow, as the debutants face the tantalising prospect of playing against some of Europe’s biggest clubs once the group stage draw takes place.