The Champions League fourth qualifying round concluded yesterday and here is a look at the winners and losers from some of those fixtures.
Young Boys came from behind to win 2-1 away to Dinamo Zagreb and reach the group stage of the Champions League for the first time. The first leg had ended in a 1-1 stalemate at home in Switzerland but they showed their grit with a hard-fought win away from home in a European fixture. This is such a huge achievement for the side who were facing a much more experienced opponent. The fact that they had to come from behind to achieve this was the icing on the cake. They will be braving themselves for a tough group stage adventure in the coming weeks.
Red Star Belgrade
Red Star Belgrade overcame all odds to beat RB Salzburg and qualify for the group stage of the Champions League. The first leg ended in a goalless draw but their exploits away to Austria earned them a place in the group stage despite finishing the fixture 2-2. Red Star qualified on account of the away goals and they will be particularly impressed with the fact they came from 2-0 down in the second half to draw at the end of regular time. This is their first appearance in the groups since 1992, a year after they won the old version of the trophy.
AEK will be happy that they managed to make a comeback to the group stage of the Champions League. The last time they appeared at this level was way back in the 2006/2007. They started with a win in Hungary and all they needed was a draw to confirm their place. You can be sure that they will try their best to give a good account of themselves in the next stage.
RB Salzburg failed to qualify after drawing at home against Red Star Belgrade. The Austrians had been tipped to make it to the next stage and all this was on course until the 65th minute when all hell broke loose. They conceded two goals within a space of two minutes and this effectively ended their ambitions.
PAOK were equally eliminated courtesy of a 4-1 beating by the hands of Benfica. The Greek outfit had built a reputation of being defensively astute away from home and their hopes went up with the first leg draw away to Benfica. However, the Portuguese proved to be a much tougher prospect than they had anticipated when they hosted them for the second leg.
Dynamo Kyiv failed to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League on account of Ajax. The Dutchmen needed not to lose by more than one goal and they held out for a barren draw. The first leg had finished with a 3-1 scoreline in favour of Ajax and they were more than happy to sit back and frustrate their opponents as they sought to avoid what befell them last year during the qualifying phase.