Maccabi Haifa FC made history on a busy evening of UEFA Champions League action, as they became the first Israeli club to reach the first group stage.
Leading Austria's SK Sturm Graz 2-0 from the home leg, Maccabi produced a resilient display to silence the partisan crowd inside the Arnold Schwarzenegger stadium. Coach Itzhak Schum was full of praise for the club's "amazing set of players and fans" after Maccabi battled back from 1-0 and 3-1 down to seal a famous 5-3 aggregate victory, as goals from Giovanni Rosso, Adoram Keise and Walid Badier did the damage.
In the second six-goal thriller of the night, FC Lokomotiv Moskva sealed their progress but were made to sweat by Grazer AK in a 3-3 draw at the Lokomotiv stadium. Holding a 2-0 lead from the first leg, Lokomotiv looked to be cruising towards victory when goals from Sergei Ignashevich and Vadim Evseev made it 4-0 overall. However, Grazer were made of sterner stuff and Ilco Naumoski and Mario Bazina scored either side of Julio César's goal, before Rene Aufhauser levelled the scores on the night.
Basel bounce back
FC Basel made it a night to remember at the Saint Jakob stadium as they qualified for group stages for the first time thanks to a 2-0 win over Celtic FC. Trailing 3-1 from the first leg in Glasgow, the Swiss champions got the win they needed through first-half goals from Christian Gimenez and Murat Yakin, and duly became the first Swiss side since Grasshopper-Club in 1996/97 to enter the main stages of Europe's premier club competition.
FC Barcelona cruised through after Gaizka Mendieta scored the only goal in Warsaw to complete a comfortable 4-0 aggregate defeat of Polish champions Legia Warszawa, while a goalless home draw against Boavista FC sent AJ Auxerre through with a 1-0 aggregate win. The result which means that for the first time Portugal will have no club in the Europe's blue-riband competition.
Fright for Milan
Milan AC squeezed into the first group stage, despite falling to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of plucky FC Slovan Liberec in the Czech Republic. Leading 1-0 from the first leg at the San Siro, Milan opted to leave Brazilian FIFA World Cup winner Rivaldo on the substitutes' bench, but Filippo Inzaghi, Milan's hero a fortnight ago, struck once more to give his side what proved to be an invaluable away goal.
Newcastle United FC booked their second appearance in the group stages with a 4-0 home success against FK Zeljeznicar. Kieron Dyer, scorer of the only goal of the first leg in Bosnia-Herzegovina, made the breakthrough before further goals from Lomana Lua Lua, Hugo Viana and Alan Shearer rounded off a 5-0 aggregate victory.
Six for Dynamo
Romanian international midfield player Florin Cernat scored as FC Dynamo Kyiv qualified for the first phase for the sixth consecutive time with a 1-0 victory over Bulgarians PFC Levski Sofia, while Costa Rican international defender Mauricio Wright's header ensured AEK Athens reached the group stages for the first time in eight years after a 1-0 victory over APOEL Nicosia FC completed a 4-2 aggregate.
Verlinden the hero
Rosenborg BK booked their fifth successive appearance in the group stages as a 3-2 win at Brøndby IF secured a 4-2 aggregate success, while Club Brugge KV goalkeeper Danny Verlinden saved two kicks in a penalty shoot-out to take his side to the group stage at the expense of Ukrainian champions FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
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