Aug 21, 2013, 11:41 PM EDT
The first legs of UEFA’s Champions League playoffs (or, play-ins) were completed on Wednesday, with 10 teams moving 90 minutes closer to certainty. For some, the group stage dream remains alive. For others, next week’s return legs could prove perfunctory.
For Arsenal, it was a day were another group stage spot was nearly assured. For 13 straight seasons, the Gunners have qualified for the main part of the tournament, and after goals from Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, and Olivier Giroud in Istanbul, Arsenal’s lead (3-0) will be near-impossible for Fenerbahçe to overturn.
Elsewhere Basel, favorites going into their matchup with Ludogerets, scored four goals in Bulgaria to take a two-goal lead into their home leg. Steaua Bucharest, Romanian champions, were drawn at home by Legia Warsaw (1-1), while Austria Wien posted an impressive 2-0 win at Dinamo Zagreb.
And in perhaps the day’s most surprising result, Greece’s PAOK were able to pull-back an early Jefferson Farfan goal to earn a 1-1 result at Schalke. The Miners, off to a disappointing 0-1-1 start in league, are always enigmatic, but failing to take an advantage out of their home leg, their inconsistency could land them in Europa League.
Courtesy of FOX Sports, here are Wednesday’s highlights, with Arsenal-Fenerbahçe at the top of the page.
Schalke (Germany) 1, PAOK (Greece) 1
Ludogerets (Bulgaria) 2, Basel (Switzerland) 4
Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) 0, Austria Wien 2
Steaua Bucharest (Romania) 1, Legia Warsaw (Poland) 1
Jul 22, 2014, 11:34 PM EDT
Business up front. Defense in the rear.
Jul 22, 2014, 11:17 PM EDT
L.A. Galaxy Insider report also speculates that Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez could take a Designated Player spot in Major League Soccer if he leaves Old Trafford.
Jul 22, 2014, 10:45 PM EDT
“It’s obviously a shame he’s not here, but Liverpool is a club that’s bigger as any individual,” Rodgers said from Fenway Park.
Jul 22, 2014, 10:03 PM EDT
Inter Milan and Queens Park Rangers have swooped in for two of the Bluebirds’ best players, and Vincent Tan probably isn’t too happy.
Jul 22, 2014, 8:42 PM EDT
Shaw speaks to PST: “Manchester United are the biggest club in the world. I didn’t think twice when they wanted to sign me.”
Jul 22, 2014, 8:39 PM EDT
When a guy many consider a footballing genius gives the United States coach praise, that’s a pretty cool feather in Klinsmann’s cap.
Jul 22, 2014, 7:40 PM EDT
Premier Leaguers in the U.S. on Tuesday = A day of open training sessions, autographs, football helmets and golf clubs.
Jul 22, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT
The 19-year-old is a promising prospect, but is dealing with negative headlines after being subject to abuse on Tuesday in Croatia.
Jul 22, 2014, 6:24 PM EDT
Fraser Forster will be sticking at Celtic, for now, after Southampton reportedly lowballed the Scottish powers.
Jul 22, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
Hand on shoulder, hair-coiffed, warm smile… next! Becks makes the rounds on the United’s U.S. tour.
Jul 22, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
There have been reports of where the 32-year-old American left sider will not be going, but little as to where he will.
Jul 22, 2014, 3:56 PM EDT
For every “stars… they’re just like us” moment a player gives you, there are moments like this, which will not happen to 99.9999% of us at work in our lives
Jul 22, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT
Xavi set to remain at Barcelona until January, at least.
Jul 22, 2014, 2:04 PM EDT
Yeah. This is actually happened… as Stoke pull off a major coup.
Jul 22, 2014, 1:34 PM EDT
Guardiola: “He trains well, he’s a good guy and my first idea is that he’s going to stay for the rest of the season.”
Jul 22, 2014, 12:56 PM EDT
Will Lovren become the third Saints player to join Liverpool this summer? If the price is right, it sure looks that way.
Jul 22, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT
Where will Rodriguez line up next season for Real? Here’s an in-depth look at the options.
Jul 22, 2014, 10:56 AM EDT
Second time around, Dunga will lead Brazil’s new era.
Jul 22, 2014, 10:05 AM EDT
What do you get for $107 million in today’s world? A red-hot 23-year-old Colombian striker, that’s what.
Jul 22, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT
Klopp says Hummels is not for sale… not at the price reported anyway.
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