Aug 21, 2013, 11:41 PM EST
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
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Could Cole be returning to the Premier League?
Dec 17, 2014, 10:35 PM EST
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Dec 17, 2014, 8:40 PM EST
Real Madrid cruised past Azul 4-0 and will be the heavy favorites come Saturday.
Dec 17, 2014, 8:01 PM EST
Huge coup for the Dynamo, if they can pull it off.
Dec 17, 2014, 7:05 PM EST
Quick healer, Mr. Aguero.
Dec 17, 2014, 6:02 PM EST
China making a big, big play into soccer.
Dec 17, 2014, 5:09 PM EST
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Dec 17, 2014, 4:40 PM EST
Another strong showing from Spurs.
Dec 17, 2014, 4:39 PM EST
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Dec 17, 2014, 3:42 PM EST
Three new deals handed out, all deserved.
Dec 17, 2014, 2:40 PM EST
ICYMI, Mourinho is a big fan of Monsieur Henry.
Dec 17, 2014, 1:50 PM EST
Falcao wants to stay at United. But should the Red Devils splash the cash on El Tigre?
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Rog and Davo talk Manchester United’s shaming of Liverpool and Arsenal’s return to potency.
Dec 17, 2014, 12:23 PM EST
Historic day for soccer in D.C., as new soccer-specific stadium becomes a reality for United.
Dec 17, 2014, 11:06 AM EST
Garcia walks away from FIFA after his appeal against how his own work on alleged corruption in the World Cup bid process was represented.
Dec 17, 2014, 10:00 AM EST
Are two MLS teams fighting it out for the Brazilian winger?
Dec 17, 2014, 9:20 AM EST
Liverpool’s star man to spend time with medical specialists from the Red Sox.
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