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Ventspils and Sheriff arrest losses

Published: Wednesday 23 July 2008, 0.55CET
FK Ventspils and FC Sheriff both overturned first-leg defeats to make the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round while FC İnter Bakı also progressed.
Ventspils and Sheriff arrest losses
Ventspils overturned their first-leg defeat to advance ©Anatolij Popeluha

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Published: Wednesday 23 July 2008, 0.55CET

Ventspils and Sheriff arrest losses

FK Ventspils and FC Sheriff both overturned first-leg defeats to make the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round while FC İnter Bakı also progressed.

FK Ventspils and FC Sheriff both overturned 1-0 first-leg defeats with four-goal home wins to progress to the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round while a goal 13 minutes from time gave FC İnter Bakı an away goals win to set up a tie against FK Partizan. Elsewhere, FBK Kaunas and FC Dinamo Tbilisi also made it through to the competition's next stage.

FK Rabotnicki 1-1 FC İnter Bakı (agg: 1-1, İnter Bakı win on away goals)
İnter Bakı qualified after a late strike from Czech midfielder Bronislav Červenka gave them an away goals win in Skopje. Rabotnicki started strongly and Blaze Ilijoski spurned two chances in the first half hour, the second hitting the bar. The visitors had a couple of long-range efforts in that time but a minute after half-time they found themselves behind. A Minas Osmani cross was met by forward Krste Velkoski who finished from close range. However, the home side could not build on their advantage and in the 77th minute, İnter Bakı equalised when Walter Guglielmone's pass was converted by Červenka from inside the box to send the Azeri champions into the second qualifying round and a meeting with Partizan.

FK Ventspils 4-0 Llanelli AFC (agg: 4-1)
Ventspils emphatically overturned their first-leg defeat to secure a tie against Norway's SK Brann. Single goal winners last week, Llanelli were behind in the tie by the half-hour mark following two quick-fire strikes from the Latvian hosts. Jevgenijs Kosmačovs capitalised on a mistake by Llanelli goalkeeper Duncan Roberts to level the aggregate scores after 28 minutes, before Vits Rimkus got on the end of Sergei Zangareev's right-wing cross two minutes later. Ventspils confirmed their place in the next round with further strikes from Andrejs Butriks (69) and Rimkus' second (78).

FBK Kaunas 3-1 FC Santa Coloma (agg: 7-2)
Linas Pilibaitis scored twice as Kaunas completed a comprehensive aggregate triumph over nine-man Santa Coloma. The midfielder extended Kaunas' overall lead in the 15th minute, following up his own penalty after Ricardo Fernández Lizarte had kept out the initial spot-kick. Seven minutes later defender Irmantas Želmikas added a second and Santa Coloma's evening went from bad to worse moments later when Manolo Jiménez was dismissed for a foul. Norberto Urbani reduced the arrears for the Andorran champions 14 minutes before half-time but he became the second Santa Coloma player to see red just after the restart. Despite the numerical superiority, the Lithuanian title-holders scored just once more through Pilibaitis' powerful header in added time. Kaunas play Rangers FC in the next round.

NSÍ Runavík 1-0 FC Dinamo Tbilisi (agg: 1-3)
NSÍ's defeat of Dinamo was not enough to send the Faroese side through to the next stage leaving the visitors with the prize of a tie against Panathinaikos FC. The hosts began brightly and gained their reward after 18 minutes when Hjalgrím Elttør was in the right place to convert Øssur Dalbúd's cross from close range. NSÍ were in control for the rest of the half at the Gundadalur Stadium – the match was played on artificial grass 70km away in Tórshavn rather than in Runavik – but were unable to make their pressure tell. Having failed to trouble goalkeeper Jens Martin Knudsen, who came out of retirement to play because of suspension and injury to NSÍ's two other custodians, Dinamo upped the tempo after the restart and forced the veteran to tip a long-range effort against the crossbar.

Knudsen, who was renowned for wearing a bobble hat during matches and retired in December last year at the age of 40, said: "We played well, unbelievably well. I'm impressed by the team today." Óli Hansen, NSÍ captain, added: "In the second half in Georgia we felt we could give this team something to work for at least, and I think we always believed we could win this match. It's just a shame we couldn't win by more, but I think we are very happy with today's match."

FC Sheriff 4-0 FK Aktobe (agg: 4-1)
The Moldovan champions overcame a one-goal first-leg deficit to reach the second qualifying round for the eighth time in a row thanks to an impressive second-half display. However, Aktobe defended their slim lead well in the first half and it took until the 65th minute for the deadlock to be broken – Aleksei Kuchuk's solo effort settling the hosts' nerves. Serghei Alexeev then put Sheriff in front on aggregate eleven minutes later, beating visiting goalkeeper Andrey Morev after meeting a low cross from Benjamin Balima. Fellow substitutes Aleksandr Erokhin (78) and Igor Picusciac – in added time – completed the victory meaning Sheriff will face AC Sparta Praha in the next round.

Last updated: 23/07/08 17.09CET

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