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FCK and Fenerbahçe must do it the hard way

While some teams have sizeable advantages going into the third qualifying round second legs, the likes of FC København and Fenerbahçe SK have their work cut out to progress.

Action from the first leg between FCK and Club Brugge in Copenhagen
Action from the first leg between FCK and Club Brugge in Copenhagen ©AFP

While the likes of RSC Anderlecht, Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC, NK Maribor and Helsingborgs IF have sizeable advantages to take into their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round second legs, 2010/11 quarter-finalists FC København and Fenerbahçe SK need favourable results away from home to progress.

Belgian champions Anderlecht secured the biggest victory of the first-leg games with a 5-0 triumph at home to FK Ekranas from Lithuania. However, despite Les Mauves et Blancs having one foot in the play-offs, Tom De Sutter, who scored twice in the opener, has warned against complacency. Israeli outfit Hapoel Kiryat Shmona are involved in the competition for the first time and have a play-off berth in their sights after winning 4-0 at home to Azerbaijan's Neftçi PFK.

NK Maribor's 4-1 victory in Slovenia leaves Luxembourg's F91 Dudelange, conquerors of FC Salzburg in the previous round, with much to do if they are to continue their European adventure. Swedish champions Helsingborg, meanwhile, were 3-0 winners at Polish counterpart WKS Śląsk Wrocław and must fancy their chances of a first group stage appearance since 2000/01 if they can continue that form on home soil.

FCK did not enjoy the same success in their opener and have their work cut out in Bruges to advance after a frustrating goalless draw with Club Brugge KV in Denmark. Fenerbahçe are another side up against it going into the return fixture. The Turkish outfit salvaged a 1-1 draw at home to SC Vaslui courtesy of Bekir İrtegün's 90th-minute equaliser yet will have to score in Piatra Neamt, Romania, on Wednesday to have any hope of booking a place in the play-off draw on 10 August.

Former European champions Celtic FC will take a 2-1 lead to Finnish title holders HJK Helsinki after a second-half comeback in Glasgow. FC Dynamo Kyiv also came from behind to prevail by the same margin at home to Feyenoord. Yuri Semin's charges will travel to the Netherlands for Tuesday's decider with a slender advantage, while the night's only other encounter sees FC BATE Borisov of Belarus, who entered the group stage last term, make the trip to Hungary to face Debreceni VSC with the scores level at 1-1.

There were also narrow wins on the road for FC Basel 1893, GNK Dinamo Zagreb and Panathinaikos FC, and that trio will be looking to protect their first-leg cushions on home ground.

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