Boško Balaban scored in the last minute to send Club Brugge KV through to the UEFA Cup group stage with a hard-fought win against MFK Ružomberok. There was also drama at Iraklis FC where Wisła Kraków fashioned an incredible escape but there was better news for another Greek team, Panathinaikos FC, as they held out against FC Metalurg Zaporizhzhya in Ukraine.
Club Brugge KV 1-1 MFK Ružomberok (agg: 2-1)
A last-minute equaliser by Balaban was enough to spare the Belgians the agony of extra time against determined Slovakian opponents. A misjudgement on a cross from Stijn Stijnen enabled Róbert Rák to restore parity on aggregate as he slipped the ball into an empty just before the half-hour. Balaban came close ten minutes from time when his shot came back off the post but it mattered not as his late strike ensured the Belgian side's progress.
FK Rabotnicki 0-1 FC Basel 1893 (agg: 2-7)
Mile Sterjovski's 75th-minute header completed an emphatic aggregate victory for Basel. After winning the first encounter 6-2 the Swiss side again dominated in Skopje and squandered a number of chances before the Australian international broke the deadlock on the night with a header from Papa Malick Bas's pinpoint cross.
AJ Auxerre 3-1 NK Dinamo Zagreb (agg: 5-2)
Ireneusz Jeleń scored twice as Auxerre completed an impressive win at home to Dinamo. The Polish striker struck twice within ten minutes of half-time to leave the visitors with a mountain to climb following their 2-1 home defeat in the first leg. Striker Eduardo da Silva reduced the deficit from the penalty spot on the hour after a foul by Bakari Sagna but Lionel Mathis's header (70 minutes) put the tie out of reach for the Croatian champions.
CD Nacional 1-2 AFC Rapid Bucuresti (aet, agg: 1-3)
Rapid Bucuresti had to rally after falling behind to a spectacular 28th-minute free-kick from Juliano Spadacio. That goal levelled the tie on aggregate and eventually forced extra time where the Romanians soon broke the impasse. Within a minute of the additional 30 minutes starting, Marian Rada capitalised on a defensive mix-up to edge the visitors ahead and Lucian Burdujan secured victory with a second goal before the turnaround.
FK Crvena Zvezda 1-2 FC Slovan Liberec (agg: 1-4)
Any hopes Crvena Zvezda supporters may have held of getting through were dampened after just two minutes when Liberec midfielder Jiří Bilek scored from a corner. Although Ailton equalised two minutes before half-time, Jan Holenda then pounced on an error by goalkeeper Ivan Randjelović to score Liberec's winner on the night (66). Randjelović's misery was compounded when he was forced off injured 13 minutes from time.
FC Groningen 1-0 FK Partizan (agg: 3-4)
Koen van de Laak's penalty was not enough to take Dutch side Groningen through as a hard-working Partizan side advanced courtesy of their 4-2 first-leg win. The home team saw a glimmer of hope on the hour when Van de Laak struck from the spot but a second goal proved elusive.
PFC Litex Lovech 1-3 Maccabi Haifa FC (agg: 2-4)
Maccabi Haifa overturned a 2-1 first-leg deficit to seal a place in the group stage in impressive fashion. Goals from Dirseu Xavir (20) and Alain Masudi (31) set them on course and although Brazilian Sandrinho gave Litex a lifeline eight minutes before half-time, visiting goalkeeper Nir Davidovich pulled off a stunning save to deny Stanislav Manolev and pave the way for a victory secured by Roberto Colautti's fine solo effort midway through the second period.
FC Metalurg Zaporizhzhya 0-1 Panathinaikos FC (agg: 1-2)
Dimitrios Papadopoulos's 15th-minute strike proved enough to see Panathinaikos through against Zaporizhzhya. Papadopoulos capitalised after Dimitrios Salpingidis's effort was parried into his path by Andriy Glushchenko and although the home team dominated thereafter, they could find no way past the excellent Pierre Ebede. Irakli Modebadze, Andrei Demtchenko and Artyom Chelyadinski were all denied before Serhiy Silyuk lobbed just over at the death.
Randers FC 0-3 Fenerbahçe SK (agg: 1-5)
Fenerbahçe left it late to end Randers' dreams as three goals in the final half-hour guided them through to the next phase. Leading 2-1 after the first leg, Zico's side found it hard to break down the Danish team until Deivid found the net on 62 minutes. Tuncay Şanlı (63) and Mateja Kežman (70) soon added further goals as Fenerbahçe made up in some part for missing out on a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Iraklis FC 0-2 Wisła Kraków (aet, agg: 1-2)
Wisła Kraków needed a late goal and extra time to overturn a first-leg deficit with a dramatic win in Thessaloniki. The visitors forced the extra half-hour when Nikola Mijailović's 93rd-minute free-kick was deflected in. Wisła then struck the decisive second goal when Mauro Cantoro scored from close range (100) to seal qualification to the next stage.
FK Austria Wien 1-0 Legia Warszawa (agg: 2-1)
Roman Wallner's strike on 64 minutes was enough to keep Austria in the UEFA Cup, following their 1-1 draw from the first leg. Although the visitors piled on the pressure in the early stages they never really threatened Szabolcs Safar's goal, their best scoring chance coming just before half-time from Brazilian Roger Guerreiro, whose fierce strike was deflected wide by a last-ditch lunge from Johannes Ertl.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.