Dynamo Moscow reaped the benefit of the Champions League qualifiers coming midway through their season when they beat a rusty-looking Celtic 1-0 in Glasgow in the first leg of their third round tie on Wednesday. The match was Celtic's first competitive outing while Dynamo have played 15 league games so far and the difference was evident throughout. The Russians looked more lively from the start and scored their goal after seven minutes when Alexander Kokorin reacted quickly to turn in a low cross from close range. Dynamo remained the better team and though Celtic striker Marc-Antoine Fortune had several good chances to level, the hosts, playing their first competitive game under new coach Tony Mowbray, looked disjointed and will need to change their terrible away form in Europe in they are to turn things round and get through to the playoffs for a place in the group phase. Olympiakos Piraeus look to have avoided a repeat of last year's early exit when they secured a 2-0 lead from the away leg at Slovan Bratislava. Last season Olympiakos lost 3-1 on aggregate to Cypriot outsiders Anorthosis Famagusta at the same stage and missed out on the Champions League group phase for the first time in 12 years. In their first competitive outing of this season, Olympiakos settled their nerves when Avraam Papadopoulos put them ahead after two minutes and Brazilian Leonardo got the important second after 21 minutes. This year's "toast of Cyprus" could be Apoel Nicosia after they beat visiting Partizan Belgrade 2-0 with second-half goals from former Partizan striker Nenad Mirosavljevic and Marcin Zewlakow. SPORTING HELD Sporting, who reached the knockout stage last season only to be humiliated 12-1 on aggregate by Bayern Munich, were held to a goalless draw in Lisbon by 10-man Twente Enschede, managed by former England boss Steve McClaren. The Dutch side had goalkeeper Sander Boscher sent after 24 minutes for bringing down Helder Postiga but Joao Moutinho missed the subsequent penalty and Sporting could not make their numerical advantage pay. UEFA Cup holders Shakhtar Donetsk twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at home to FC Timisoara, with Fernandinho getting their second equaliser four minutes from time after Gheorghe Bucur got both for the visitors. Two goals for Marcos and one for Zoran Pavlovic gave Maribor a 3-2 win at FC Zurich while Cesar Santin also got two, one a penalty, after Jesper Gronkjaer's opener in FC Copenhagen's 3-1 home win over Stabaek. The second legs take place next Wednesday.
29 July 2009
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