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Quartet step closer to group stage

Published: Tuesday 18 July 2006, 22.45CET
Clubs from Lithuania, Georgia, Moldova and F.Y.R. Macedonia progressed in the UEFA Champions League as four first qualifying round ties concluded. features

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Published: Tuesday 18 July 2006, 22.45CET

Quartet step closer to group stage

Clubs from Lithuania, Georgia, Moldova and F.Y.R. Macedonia progressed in the UEFA Champions League as four first qualifying round ties concluded.

Clubs from Lithuania, Georgia, Moldova and F.Y.R. Macedonia progressed in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday as the first four of eleven first qualifying round ties were concluded. rounds up tonight's second-leg action.

FK Ekranas 3-0 KS Elbasani (agg: 3-1)
The Lithuanian champions won through to the second qualifying round for the first time in fine style, overturning a 1-0 deficit from the first leg in Albania. Povilas Lukšys got Ekranas going with a 12th-minute header, stooping to nod in Ruslans Mikhalchuk's cross from the left. The home side sensed their chance, and moved ahead on aggregate in the 48th minute as a Mantas Savenas corner found the head of Giedrius Tomkevičius to double the advantage. Lukšys then ensured there was no way back for Elbasan in the 71st minute by stroking the ball into the empty net to seal a meeting with Croatia's NK Dinamo Zagreb.

FK Baku 1-0 FC Sioni Bolnisi (agg: 1-2)

Having lost 2-0 in Georgia, Baku took the game to their visitors in Azerbaijan only to find Zurab Batiashvili in outstanding form between the posts. When the goalkeeper was finally beaten by a Cristian Ionescu header late in the first half, David Chichveishvili was on hand to head off the line. The introduction of Farid Guliyev, 20, for George Megreladze added youthful zest to the Baku attack and Bangoura Pathe had already gone close to opening the scoring when Guliyev did just that in the 65th minute with a superb diving header from Djeikhun Sultanov's cross. Guliyev had an opportunity to level the aggregate scores as full time beckoned but a man stationed on the line again cleared the danger to earn Sioni a date with PFC Levski Sofia of Bulgaria.

FC Sheriff 2-0 FC Pyunik (agg: 2-0)
Sheriff are looking forward to a lucrative tie with FC Spartak Moskva after successfully negotiating the first qualifying round for the sixth successive year. The Moldovan champions took heart from a spirited display in Armenia last week and gave it all from the start, again keeping Pyunik goalkeeper Gevorg Kasparov busy. Yet Kasparov could do little to keep out a 30th-minute opener from Razvan Cocis before being beaten again in added time as Oleg Gumenuk evaded two defenders, charged into the area and struck the ball beautifully into the top corner to wrap up the tie in style.

FK Rabotnicki 0-0 F91 Dudelange (agg: 1-0)
Last week's 1-0 win in Luxembourg proved the difference between these sides as the Macedonian champions advanced following a scoreless draw at the Gradski stadium in Skopje. The home side could, and should, have extended their advantage as Ivan Pejčić and Vanco Trajcev both went close, although Polish striker Thomas Gruszczynski also posed a threat for Dudelange. It mattered not, however, and Rabotnicki will now tackle Hungary's Debreceni VSC for the right to possibly come up against a European giant such as Liverpool FC or AFC Ajax in the third qualifying round.
Last updated: 19/07/06 15.36CET

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