SK Rapid Wien and Maccabi Petach-Tikva FC pulled off stunning comebacks as several sides earned progress to tomorrow's UEFA Cup first round draw despite opening-leg deficits.
Rapid travelled to Russia to face FC Rubin Kazan having lost 2-0 at home in the first part of their second qualifying round tie. But Peter Hlinka's early goal gave Rapid hope and on the half-hour Marek Kincl levelled the tie. Twenty minutes from the end Steffen Hofmann scored what proved the winner and, after Rubin's Orlando Souza was sent off, Rapid were through 3-2 on aggregate.
Gaining revenge for Russia against Austrian opposition with a similar reversal of fortunes were FC Zenit St. Peterburg. SV Pasching had won their home leg 3-1, but tonight were beaten 2-0 and Zenit are through on away goals. Milan Vjestica and Aleksandr Kerzhakov struck in the opening 20 minutes for Zenit.
Petach-Tikva were at home tonight, but trailed Cypriot side AEK Larnaca FC 3-0 at kick-off. Omer Golan opened the scoring for the Israeli team in the first minute and Aristos Aristocleous's own goal soon doubled the lead. Five minutes before the interval Asaf Mashiach levelled the scores and then converted a penalty to put his side 4-3 up on aggregate, and they held on for a dramatic win in their first European tie despite Shahar Nuriel's late dismissal for dissent.
Another Israeli side through on their continental debut are Hapoel Bnei Sakhnin FC. The Arab club already led FK Partizani 3-0 from the first leg, and they won 3-1 in Albania tonight to cruise through.
Meanwhile, FC Dinamo Tbilisi, who lost their first leg 3-1 at SK Slavia Praha a fortnight ago, triumphed 2-0 to progress on away goals. Levan Melkadze opened the scoring just before half-time and 18-year-old Jaba Kankava struck what proved the clincher midway through the second period.
In stark contrast, Dinamo's city rivals FC Tbilisi were defeated 6-0 at Legia Warszawa to exit by a 7-0 aggregate. Piotr Wlodarczyk scored a hat-trick for Legia and Jacek Magiera, Marek Saganowski and first-leg goalscorer Tomasz Sokolowski were also on target.
PFC Levski Sofia secured an even more comfortable 8-0 overall victory against FK Modrica. The Bosnia-Herzegovnian side had lost 5-0 in Bulgaria two weeks ago and a goal from Dimitar Telkiyski and two late on by Wagner ended Modrica's inaugural UEFA Cup run.
Slovenia's NK Primorje did secure a second-leg win after a defeat two weeks ago, but having lost 4-0 at NK Dinamo Zargeb on that occasion, their 2-0 victory tonight was not enough to thwart their Croatian visitors. Primorje, playing the game in Nova Gorica as their own stadium does not meet UEFA criteria, scored through Matej Mlakar and Simon Gregoric late on.
Odd Grenland and Stabæk IF secured a double success for Norway. Odd took a 3-1 lead to FK Ekranas and a 2-1 defeat in Lithuania was not enough for the home team, who has been heading through on away goals after Vitalijus Kavaliauskas and Gediminas Paulauskas struck in the first half, only for Morten Knutsen to secure a dramatic 4-3 aggregate victory for Odd in added time.
Stabæk also held a 3-1 advantage as they travelled to Finland to play FC Haka and a win by an identical score took the visitors through 6-2 overall. FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk ousted Slovakia's FC Artmedia Bratislava 4-1 on aggregate, the Ukrainian side settling for a 1-1 home draw tonight.
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