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Three first-half goals, including two by Ciprian Marica, helped FC Shakhtar Donetsk fight off a brave challenge from Legia Warszawa and win 4-2 on aggregate to secure a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
The Ukrainian champions went into the second leg of the third qualifying round tie with a slender one-goal advantage given to them two weeks ago by Elano Blumer, a lead that disappeared 19 minutes into the return as Piotr Włodarczyk opened the scoring for Legia from Edson's free-kick. The home crowd's delight proved short-lived, however, as the tie was turned completely on its head by two quick strikes from Ciprian Marica and Fernandinho on the counterattack to give Shakhtar the edge once more.
Polish champions Legia have suffered a poor start to the defence of their title with only one win in four league games and their morale was hit further as Marica scored a third for the visitors in first-half injury time thanks to an assist from the influential Anatoliy Tymoschuk.
After the break the Ukrainian side dominated the play, keeping the ball from the helpless Legia players, and although Włodarczyk did score a late consolation from close range two minutes from time it did little to diminish Shakhtar's joy. Their attention now turns to the UEFA Champions League group stage draw in Monaco while for Legia the UEFA Cup awaits.
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