UEFA Champions League Review: Molde and Skenderbeu secure impressive victories
Molde and Skenderbeu were the big winners in the latest round of UEFA Champions League qualifiers, where HJK made a thrilling comeback.
Norwegian champions Molde and Albania's Skenderbeu recorded resounding wins in their UEFA Champions League second qualifying round first-leg ties.
Molde ran out 5-0 winners over FC Pyunik, with Mohamed Elyounoussi and Ola Kamara notching braces as two goals conceded in injury time compounded a damaging outing for the Armenian club.
Irish Premiership champions Crusaders were no match for their Albanian hosts Skenderbeu, who set up their 4-1 win with first-half goals from Bakary Nimaga and Hamdi Salihi.
Jordan Owens pulled back an away goal three minutes after the interval but Bernard Berisha restored Skenderbeu’s two-goal advantage and Salihi added his second in the 83rd minute.
HJK Helsinki launched a stunning late comeback to take control of their tie with Ventspils, eventually running out 3-1 winners in Latvia.
Antons Jemelins put the home side in front after the hour before Erfan Zeneli levelled for the Finns from the penalty spot with 15 minutes to play.
Ousman Jallow came off the bench to put them in front in the 86th minute and Japanese forward Atomu Tanaka sealed the win for HJK in injury time.
Steaua Bucharest were 2-0 winners at Trencin - Nicolae Stanciu and Jugurtha Hamroun the men on target during the second period.
Polish Ekstraklasa side Lech Poznan triumphed at FK Sarajevo 2-0 thanks to Kasper Hamalainen and Denis Thomalla goals.
Maccabi Tel Aviv will have to come from behind to secure progress after going down 2-1 against Maltese club Hibernians.
Nigerian midfielder Nosa Igiebor broke the deadlock midway though the first half but goals in the final 16 minutes from Jorginho and Jackson Lima gave Hibernians a slender advantage before the return leg in Israel.
Ludogorets’ hopes of returning to the Champions League group stage for a second successive year were dealt a blow by a 1-0 loss at home to Milsami of Moldova - Alexandru Antoniuc netting a 41st-minute winner.
FC Midtjylland, Maribor and Partizan were 1-0 winners in home legs against Lincoln, Astana and Dila Gori.
Adam Gyurcso netted 13 minutes from time as Hungary’s Videoton won 1-0 at Welsh champions The New Saints, while the game between APOEL and Vardar ended goalless.
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By Tom Hancock
By Tom Hancock
By Ben Hayward