CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLAY-OFF ROUND-UP: Shakhtar Donetsk needs late own goal to win thriller with Monaco as Moldovan minnow FC Sheriff Tiraspol secures spot via comfortable win over Dinamo Zagreb
- Shakhtar Donetsk beats Monaco to reach Champions League group stage
- Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder reversed their first leg deficit to lead 2-1
- But Marlos’ late goal forced extra time with away goals no longer in effect
- Monaco captain Ruben Aguilar scored a crucial own goal in extra time
- FC Sherriff became the first Moldovan side to advance to the group stage
Shakhtar Donetsk secured a place in the lucrative group stage of the Champions League with a dramatic 3-2 win over Monaco after fighting back from two goals behind in their play-off round on Wednesday.
The Ukrainian side joined RB Salzburg as Austrian champions defeated Danes Brondby 4-2, and Sheriff Tiraspol, who became the first Moldovan side to reach the group stage with a 3-0 overall win against Dinamo Zagreb.
Trailing 1-0 on the first leg at home, Monaco turned the tide when a brace from Wissam Ben Yedder gave them a 2-0 lead on the night in Kharkiv before substitute Marlos tied the score in the second half with a strike of 74 minutes.
Shakhtar Donetsk has reached the Champions League by beating Monaco
Wissam Ben Yedder (left) thought he had pushed through Monaco with two goals in Ukraine
With the away goals rule out of effect in European club competition from this season, Shakhtar forced the final twist thanks to a 114th-minute own goal from Monaco captain Ruben Aguilar after the French side missed a series of opportunities.
Ben Yedder fired a dominant Monaco 18th minute lead into the night and put the visitors at the wheel in the 39th when he sent home a stunning low cross from the left by Caio Henrique.
Ben Yedder then missed a few sitters either side of halftime and Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov denied Kevin Volland with excellent stoppage time after Marlos gave Shakhtar a lifeline with a neat finish into the near post.
But a goal from Marlos before Ruben Aguilar’s own goal (below) got Shakhtar through
Shakhtar was also on the back foot in extra time, but Monaco were eventually penalized for their misses when Aguilar stuck his foot out to block a pass and the looping clearance sailed over goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel into the back of the net.
Salzburg rode to a 2-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the return leg against Brondby as Benjamin Sesko struck with a clinical finish and Brenden Aaronson added the second as he shoved the ball under goalkeeper Mads Hermansen.
Brondby defender Andreas Maxsoe pulled one back for the home side from close range in the 62nd minute, but it was little consolation for the Danish side as Salzburg held their ground comfortably.
Red Bull Salzburg also made it by passing Brondby on Wednesday evening
FC Sherriff is the first Moldovan team to ever reach the Champions League groups
After stunning Dinamo 3-0 at home in the first leg, Sheriff in the Croatian capital came to a goalless draw to face the odds again after knocking out 1991 European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade in the previous qualifying round. .
The draw for the group stage will take place in Istanbul on Thursday.