Shamrock Rovers have created history by becoming the first Irish side to reach the UEFA Champions League Group Stage after a 1-1 draw in Bucharest that saw them progress past Romanian champions Steaua 4-1 on aggregate.
Three-up from the First Leg last week, Bryan Hodge stunned the 27,000 capacity crowd with by finishing a fine breakaway move after early pressure from the hosts, to put the League of Ireland side 4-0 up on aggregate, with a valuable away goal should the hosts hit back. Changing shape shortly afterwards, they held out bravely until the 88th minute when Razvan Balla headed home a mere consolation for Steaua.
Albanian striker Hamdi Salihi scored a hat-trick to help BSC Young Boys on their way to a 4-0 win in Hungary at Györi ETO, progressing 5-1 over the two legs after a 1-1 draw in Switzerland last week.
Ajax pulled of a shock 2-0 win at the Mestalla, with a pair of stunning Siem de Jong free-kicks giving them a 2-0 win over Valencia, but the Spanish side progressed 4-3 on aggregate after they won convincingly in Amsterdam in the First Leg six days ago.
After trailing 1-2 from the first leg in Germany, Belgian runners-up Standard Liege had it turned-round inside the opening ten minutes against Bayer Leverkusen through goals from Luis Seijas and Ariel Nahuelpan, before Simon Rolfes restored parity for the visitors. Nahuelpan scored his second mid-way through the second-half to seal the tie 4-3 on aggregate.
Last but by no means least, Zenit St. Petersburg won 3-0 in the Ukraine at Shakhtar Donetsk with goals from Victor Faizulin, Axel Witsel, and Alexandr Kerzhakov to ensure that the highest-ranked side on the night comfortably progressed.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CHAMPIONS PLAYOFF, SECOND LEG: HUN Györi ETO 0-4 BSC Young Boys SUI (1-5 agg.) ROU Steaua Bucharest 1-1 Shamrock Rovers IRL (1-4 agg.) SCO Celtic v Maccabi Tel-Aviv ISR (Wed, 2-0) CRO Dinamo Zagreb v Viktoria Plzen CZE (Wed, 1-1) NOR Viking FK v Legia Warsaw POL (Wed, 0-2) UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE BEST-PLACED PLAYOFF, SECOND LEG: UKR Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 Zenit SP RUS (1-4 agg.) BEL Standard Liege 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen GER (4-3 agg.) ESP Valencia 0-2 Ajax NED (4-3 agg.) ITA AS Roma v Tottenham Hotspur ENG (Wed, 0-3) POR Porto v AS Monaco FRA (Wed, 0-1)