Celtic ended a six-year wait for an away victory in Europe on Wednesday, the former European champions winning 2-0 at Dinamo Moscow to seal a place in the playoff round for the Champions League group stages. Moldovan champions FC Sheriff Tiraspol joined them in dramatic fashion after a last-gasp goal from Nadson earned them a 1-1 draw with Slavia Prague and an away goals win but there was no such joy for Shakhtar Donetsk. The UEFA Cup holders made a surprise exit, going out on away goals after a 0-0 draw in Romania against FC Timisoara meant their third qualifying round tie ended 2-2 on aggregate. Belarus side BATE Borisov, who played in the group stages last season, endured a similar fate as they also went out on away goals against Latvians FK Ventspils. Sergei Krivets scored twice for BATE as they won 2-1 at home on the night but Igor Tigirlas's early strike proved crucial for Ventspils who won the first leg 1-0. COMFORTABLE WIN Champions League regulars Olympiakos Piraeus beat Slovan Bratislava 2-0 to complete a 4-0 aggregate victory. They were joined in the playoff round by Bulgarians Levski Sofia, Hungarian champions Debrecen, FC Copenhagen, Cypriots Apoel Nicosia and FC Zurich who won 3-0 against NK Maribor in Slovenia after losing the home leg 3-2. Celtic manager Tony Mowbray snapped an embarrassing away record for the Glasgow side at the first time of asking. Scott McDonald's header on the stroke of halftime and a stoppage time goal from Greek striker Georgios Samaras gave Celtic a 2-1 aggregate victory after Mowbray's first competitive game in charge last week ended in a 1-0 defeat against the Russians. "We got what we deserved," Mowbray told the BBC. "We controlled the game for long periods and got our reward." Dinamo, who are already well into their season, appeared content to protect their slender lead for most of the match but were shaken when Australian McDonald headed in Andreas Hinkel's deep cross after 44 minutes. Celtic came under pressure after the break with Dinamo twice going close to an equaliser but in a nervy finale Shaun Maloney missed one great chance for Celtic before Samaras sent the visiting fans wild with a classy winner.
5 August 2009
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